With an unblemished professional mixed martial arts record of 10-0 and an impressive UFC record of 3-0, Ryan “Darth” Bader is widely touted as one of the fastest rising stars the sport currently has to offer.
As a matter of fact, when talk turns to future title contenders in UFCs ultra-stacked 205 pound division it’s nearly impossible not to throw the Ultimate Fighter champion’s name into the hat. Especially considering the light heavyweight championship pedigree recently spurned out from TUF’s past, such as Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans.
However, ask Ryan for yourself about how soon he feels like he would be ready to take a crack at the throne currently occupied by Lyoto Machida and the Arizona Combat Sports trained up and comer ‘s response might surprise you.
“I don’t really want to hear that much about the title contention yet because I’m a young fighter and I have a lot of room to grow,” said Bader in a recent appearance on Rear Naked Radio. “I just feel like I’m not ready for it right now. I feel like I need a couple more fights at least. You know, three or four more before even talking about it, because I want to be…. When I fight for the title — and that’s my goal — I want to win the belt. I want to be the best fighter I can’t be at that time, and I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near where I should be right now.
“It’s early. I’m just taking them one fight at a time, and right now it’s Keith Jardine.”
Truer words have never been spoken as Bader faces what could easily be viewed as the toughest test in his quickly developing mixed martial arts career this Saturday night in Australia at UFC 110 as the heavy handed takedown specialist squares off with the always dangerous and unpredictable Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine.
If there’s one thing to look out for when facing off with the unorthodox Jardine, it’s not to fall into the Greg Jackson trained fighter’s rhythm, or lack thereof, and no one knows this better than Ryan Bader.
“I can’t get into that rhythm,” said Bader. “I can’t fall into that her herky-jerky – you know, what he wants me to do. People that try to play with him and out-point him — they’re not really successful. It’s the guys that go in there and pressure him, and say, “I don’t care”; The guys that get in his face and exchange with him; Hit him on the button and he goes down.”
While Jardine has long been known for the velocity and stopping power of his leg kicks, in a match-up with a former three-time PAC 10 Champion and two-time Division I All-American wrestler – theoretically, at least – firing off leg kicks might not be the wisest strategy to employ. Naturally it’s much easier to take someone down that is standing on one leg, as opposed to both legs.
“If he wants to leg kick me, that’s fine, he’s going to get taken down,” said Bader. “But I’m still going to try to get inside on him and slug it out with him a little bit too.”
So what’s the bottom line in regards to which one of these dangerous light heavyweights will walk away victorious on Saturday evening; According to Bader it comes down to pressure, and Jardine will be under it like Freddy Mercury.
“He’s lost when people have have gotten in his face and pressured him like Wanderlei did,” said Bader.