Ryan Bader perfected his wrestling skills while in the gym at Arizona State University. The former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, however, has displayed an ever-improving striking game to go along with his top-notch wrestling.
Bader will face another former UFC light heavyweight champion in Lyoto Machida this Saturday night at UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera. The bout will serve as the co-main event.
Machida will mark the third opponent in his last four that has been a UFC 205-pound champion. Bader lost to current champion Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz last year before defeating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson earlier this year in Japan. He also owns a knockout victory over Jason Brilz between the Ortiz and Jackson fights.
“I’m no longer looking at these guys as fighters I used to watch on TV – they’re now my peers, my rivals,” Bader said. “Machida is no different. No one is invincible and it is now my time to beat him and go on to a title shot.”
The 29-year-old Bader is 14-2 in his career, including seven knockout wins and two more via submission.
“I’m better than ever; I used to be just a wrestler with a big overhand right, but I’ve added many more skills to my game now,” Bader said. “After dominating ‘Rampage,’ my confident went through the roof and I’m now more than happy to face anybody in the light heavyweight division.”