Ryan Bader has found himself right back among the title contenders after wins over former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Jason Brilz. After submission losses to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz, victories were exactly what Bader needed.
Now, as he enters a co-main event fight with Lyoto Machida this Saturday night at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera, the former winner of The Ultimate Fighter believes his work will take care of all the talk of a future title opportunity. Machida will be the third former UFC 205-pound champion “Darth” has faced in his past four fights.
“I am getting there. Defeating a guy like ‘Rampage’ puts you right in the mix (for a title shot),” said Bader, during a media conference call Monday. “I am just focused on this fight; everything else will take care of itself.”
Machida presents a different style for Bader, but the former NCAA wrestling standout did confirm he wouldn’t just take “The Dragon” down. Instead, he plans on showcasing all his MMA skills.
“(Machida) brings a lot of problems to the table. You are not used to seeing (his style) in the gym, so you have to seek out training partners,” Bader said. “The biggest puzzle is making sure you see (his style) in the gym so you are not surprised by it.”
Bader is 14-2 in his career, including seven knockout victories.