Ryan Bader isn’t the type of fighter that makes headlines outside of the cage. For better or worse, he’s never going to start cutting Sonnen-esque promos in order to get to the top. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time when Bader even called another fighter out. It probably hasn’t even happened. He’s completely content to let his work in the cage do the talking for him, work that he eventually hopes will propel him to a UFC title shot, and maybe even a rematch with Jon Jones.

In order for those things to happen, Bader needs to keep on winning. His next test will give him a huge opportunity to move up a few slots in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings. Bader is set to face Glover Teixeira in next week’s UFC Fight Night 28 main event, and not only will “Darth” get a chance to take out the No. 3-ranked fighter in his weight class, but he gets to do it in Teixeira’s native Brazil. It’s a tough test, but one that Bader seemed more than ready for in a recent media scrum.

Bader (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I have a huge fight coming up here. Glover’s tough, I think he’s third in the UFC rankings,” Bader said. “For me, that’s the kind of fight I want. It’s a perfect fight for me because I don’t want to fight people that aren’t in the rankings or are below me, cause it’s really a lose-lose situation, cause if I beat ‘em I’m supposed to beat them and if I lose I drop down even more.

“To be able to fight somebody that’s undefeated in the UFC, has a lot of hype behind them, is ranked No. 3 in the UFC right now that people are talking about for the title, these are the kinds of fight I want now. I’ve been in the UFC for a while, so why not take these big fights instead of rolling the dice? Everyone’s tough in the UFC, so you’re not going to get a ‘gimme’ fight, and what happens if you lose one of those? I like these big fights.”

Bader’s willingness to throw himself in the fire is probably a good thing here. He has fought some extremely good competition throughout his UFC run, and he’s essentially being used as a measuring stick to see just how good Teixeira really is. While Bader’s a proven UFC commodity, Teixeira is still new to the Octagon and hasn’t beaten even a single fighter in the top 10 of the division. Still, he’s shown enough potential to convince the media to rank him as high as third in the UFC’s official rankings, and Bader knows he has a challenge in front of him.

“He’s just a tough, aggressive guy and he comes out hard. He looks to put people away, and that makes for exciting fights,” the former Ultimate Fighter winner said. “I love exciting fights, and I love to fight someone that’s aggressive like that, and like I said beforehand, he’s right up there in the rankings. So I think it’s just a perfect mix for a fight.”

Even as “perfect” as Bader believes the fight is, the location obviously doesn’t play into his favor. Even if you discount the normal things like travel, Bader still has that ridiculously loud and passionate Brazilian fan base to try and keep out of his head on fight night. To top it all off, the track record for foreign fighters against Brazilians in Brazil has been pretty bad since the UFC started making frequent trips to the country, and it especially isn’t kind to main-event fighters. In the eight trips to Brazil the UFC has made since 2011, only one non-Brazilian fighter has won in the main event of the night. Still, even with all these negatives in front of him, Bader doesn’t seem at all worried about having to step into enemy territory.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily hard,” he admitted. “At the end of the day we’re gonna be in the Octagon, and I’m going to kind of zone everything out and we’re going to fight. I’ve been to Japan and fought ‘Rampage’ [Jackson] over there and Rampage, that’s like his second home. And the Japanese are really quiet people and the crowd was really quiet, and they were booing me then. The Brazilian fans are very passionate and I respect that about them. They love this sport, they love MMA and they love their home countrymen, so I know I’m gonna get booed and told I’m going to die going in there, but it’s part of the plan, going in there and playing kind of an underdog role.”

Bader (L) locks up a guillotine choke (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Despite playing the underdog, Bader is exactly the caliber of fighter that Teixeira needs to be fighting at this point in his UFC run, especially since the UFC is short on contenders for Jon Jones’ light heavyweight belt. Teixeira has looked like a world-beater in his trifecta of UFC victories, but he’s never fought anyone on the same level as Bader. “Darth,” meanwhile, has spent the past few years taking on a who’s who of the 205-pound division, something that could end up being a huge advantage for Bader come fight day.

“You know, every fight I’ve had, you’re going against a tough guy in there,” said Bader. “And at my point in my career, I think four out of the last six fights I’ve had were against champions or former champions, so I’ve fought the best of the best in these last couple of years. This is nothing new for me. Every fight I walk into is tough.

“He’s undefeated in the UFC, he’s on a big undefeated win streak, but that night on Sept. 4, it’s just going to be him and I in the cage and you can’t bring your win streak, you can’t bring anything else with you. It’s just the best man that performs on that night gets that win. That’s how I like to look at it; I don’t like to look at anything else. I’ve trained hard, I feel great, the best I’ve ever felt, and that’s what comes with experience. But, this is nothing new for me; I’m coming in there and trying to win.”

Top Photo: Ryan Bader (L) celebrates victory (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Editor’s Note: All quotes were obtained firsthand by The MMA Corner’s Brazilian Contributor Aline Bak

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.