For a brief period, it looked as though Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader would meet in the UFC. Unfortunately, the matchup never materialized, and the two wrestling specialists went their separate ways.
Today, both men are hovering at the pinnacle of the sport in different promotions. Bader currently holds the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles in Bellator. Cormier, meanwhile, briefly held the same titles in the UFC, though he relinquished the light heavyweight belt.
Given their simultaneous reigns as two-division champions, there is still widespread interest in a fight between Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader.
Speaking on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, Cormier discussed this possibility.
He began by offering his former rival some praise.
“I think Ryan’s done tremendous for himself. I’ve known Ryan since he was in college,” Cormier said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “He’s always been a hard worker and very committed to his family and everything else. I think he’s great. It is exciting to watch him gain a level of success that he never truly had gotten to in the UFC and the chances that he did get to get there, he had kind of faltered.
“With that being said, he just really dominated those guys and it was crazy because ‘King Mo,’ I watched him tech [Bader] in wrestling. Maybe scored like 10 takedowns. And [Bader] just truly, truly had to reset his mind to even compete against him knowing that his best skill is axed off. He can’t use it against a guy like Mo, so he went out there and knocked him out.
“It’s been nice, it’s been good,” Cormier continued. “It’s hard watching guys like Fedor get knocked out like that. He dominated (Matt) Mitrione, knocked out Mo. It’s been good to watch him do what he’s done.”
While Daniel Cormier is impressed with what Ryan Bader has accomplished in Bellator, he does not believe the Bellator champ stands a chance against him.
“He wouldn’t be able to fight me,” Cormier said. “I like the guy, but it’s just different. It’s just a little bit of a different approach. Look, at the end of the day I’m just nasty ol’ boy. I learned that from Josh Barnett. You get in there, you rub your elbow in their face, you kind of run your hand over their mouth. I’m of the old school, like Josh Barnett. Hurt ‘em even when you’re not doing much and people don’t really like that. Even when I’m huggin’ ‘em, you know when it looks like I’m just huggin’ ‘em? I’m not just huggin’ ‘em. I’m really driving my knuckles into their body, even when I’m on top and I’ve got my elbow in the middle of the solar plexus, I’m pointing that elbow as deep in there as I can.
“There’s always pain, and I learned that when Josh Barnett put the pain on me when we fought in Strikeforce. It’s just a different type of mentality that most guys can’t match. You’ve got to be a dog if you’re going to beat Daniel Cormier — and I don’t know if he has that dog in him.”
Does a matchup between Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader interest you?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/27/2019.