Ryan Bader understands the business side of MMA.
“Darth” feels that, on the heels of a fifth consecutive victory, he should be in line for a crack at the UFC light heavyweight title.
However, the cloud of Jon Jones hangs over the division. And if Bader isn’t next after besting Rashad Evans, he knows that’s something he cannot control.
“I want to get a title shot. But I can’t control that,” said Bader, during an interview on the post-fight show. “I can’t control if Jon Jones comes back and gets the next shot. I can control the guy in front of me and that was Rashad (Saturday night).”
Bader was believed to be the next challenger after Daniel Cormier won the title, as the former Ultimate Fighter winner even ambushed the new champion during a post-fight press conference. Instead, officials tabbed Alexander Gustafsson and paired Bader up with a former champion in Evans.
In earning a decision, Bader believes it is all “coming together” for him now.
“I felt like myself,” he said. “All the experience is paying off. I used to fight in a fog. I can think on the fly and everything is coming together.
“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. I’m building on my game. The jab was working, Rashad was slick. I wanted him to over-commit with the big right and get him with an uppercut.”