The thought of Ryan Bader returning to Spike TV isn’t so far-fetched. Bader won The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 8 light heavyweight tournament by knocking out Vinny Magalhaes back in Dec. 2008. “Darth” would go on to win 14 more fights inside the Octagon.
Bader opted out of his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) following his dominant TKO win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Nov. 2016. He spoke to Flo Combat to discuss his decision to stay open in the market:
“I know I’m in a spot where there aren’t too many guys who can say they bring what I bring to the table. I’ve won seven of my last eight, I have back-to-back finishes over tough competition, and I’m ranked No. 4 in the world in my division.”
With a UFC record of 15-5, a title opportunity has still eluded Bader. He said he feels he deserves a shot at gold.
“I haven’t received a title shot yet with the UFC, and I believe that’s something I’ve earned. That and a few other things made me realize fighting out my contract was the best move and that’s what I did. In any other sport this would be a regular thing, but in this sport that isn’t the case.”
“Darth” holds a split decision victory over current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. The two competed inside the Octagon back in Jan. 2015. That ended up being Davis’ last fight in the UFC. Bader certainly isn’t opposed to jumping ship to meet “Mr. Wonderful” again.
“I’d love to step in and fight Phil Davis again for the Bellator title, or barring a fight between Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier, I’m right there as well. But there are a lot of really interesting matchups for me in Bellator. They have a guy I beat in Phil Davis holding the belt, but there are a lot of other names on their roster I’d love to mix it up with.”