Ryan “Darth” Bader stepped into the octagon at UFC 192 with the mindset of beating a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in Rashad Evans so he could earn a shot at gold himself. While their co main-event fight in Houston, Texas left fans hungry for heavier hits, Bader is still more than satisfied with his performance which could be the biggest win of his career.
“I felt like myself,” Bader said after his fight on Fox Sports. It’s all coming together. All the experience is paying off. I used to fight in a fog. I can think on the fly and everything is coming together.”
Bader lost his boxing coach Jose Benavidez in between fights and many expected his striking to fade because of it. Instead, the Bader fans saw in the octagon at UFC 192 may have been the best form of the light heavyweight they’ve seen yet. He already proved in the past he has the knockout power to finish anybody at a moment’s notice. During his fight with Evans, though, he showed he has the movement and strategy it takes to eventually challenge for gold.
“I developed a good jab and started more Thai boxing. I’ve opened up my hips and put my combos together. I’ve always had takedowns,” Bader mentioned. “I’m building on my game. The jab was working, Rashad was slick. I wanted him to overcommit with the big right and get him with an uppercut.”
When all was said and done, Bader was just happy to shut Evans down for three rounds after the weeks of trash talking. “That feels good,” Bader said. “Calling me the easiest fight in the division, that’s disrespectful. I respect Rashad. I watched him through his whole career. Cormier looked great. I want to fight Cormier for the title.”
What do you think is next for Ryan Bader? He has his sights set on Daniel Cormier and his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship… is he next for D.C.?