Ryan Bader has spent a good part of 2015 campaigning for a title shot, and as UFC 192 nears, it’s clear “Darth” remains focused on the 205 crown.
Earlier in the year, a lot of people believed Bader would be tapped for a title shot. The powerful wrestler extended his winning streak to four in January, by decisioning Phil Davis, and was booked to fight Daniel Cormier.
But, after Jon Jones was stripped of the belt, Cormier was moved into a title fight with Anthony Johnson. After “DC” won the title, the UFC elected to go with Alexander Gustasfsson, and not Bader. At the time, the decision dropped more than a few jaws throughout the sport.
Well, in advance of his bout this Saturday with Rashad Evans, Bader outlined why he believes he’s in a different mental place than his opponent (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“I’m hungry, I haven’t had a taste of the title shot,” he said. “I haven’t had the title shot. (Evans) has been there; he’s been the champion. He can fall back on that. I can’t. I have big wins, but I haven’t gotten where I want to be with my goals.
“That’s where I’m at mentally. I want go out there and prove to the fans, prove to the media and everybody that I should be next in line, or constantly considered to be thrown in there for a shot.”
It’s interesting to hear Bader relay this, as recently Evans opined that the Power MMA fighter under performs in big stakes fights. It’s a very interesting match-up, as both men are talented wrestlers, and have stopping power in their hands.
It’s also worth remembering that Evans hasn’t fought in nearly two years. Coming back from that long of a break is never easy.
UFC 192 will be hosted by the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.