Ryan Bader gambled on himself and it paid off more than ever last night (June 24).
Like their first encounter, the bout ended in a split decision in favor of Bader. Speaking to the media, “Darth” said he’s happy to finally win a championship (via MMAJunkie.com):
“It’s a bunch of relief. I never got the chance to fight for any belt in any organization. I’ve got all these accolades in wrestling and even in football, collegiate wrestler. Then I go into mixed martial arts and fight in all these local shows where I only fight one time and move onto the next one. I win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ then go to the UFC and never got an opportunity there. To fight in a different promotion, your first fight, I wouldn’t say there’s any jitters, but you’re new to the whole thing, and you don’t know what to expect.”
He then went on to give respect to Davis.
“I wanted to come in and make a huge statement, but how many guys beat Phil Davis? I beat him twice. … He beat me in wrestling; I was able to come out and beat him in two MMA fights. We’re going to be competing our whole lives. We’ll probably see each other in the senior league in jiu-jitsu or something. He’s a great dude. I respect the hell out of him. It’s an honor to get in there and fight him.”