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Ryan Bader relishing the role of an underdog

Outside of a fluky loss to Tito Ortiz and a stumble against the phenomenon that is light heavyweight champion Jon Jones it’s hard to find any flaws in Ryan Bader’s run since winning the Ultimate Fighter Season 8. He’s beaten seasoned veterans like Keith Jardine and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira while also showing he’s not completely reliant on his impressive wrestling ability, possessing knockout power and ever-improving stand-up.

However, when Bader enters the Octagon this weekend against Quinton Jackson at UFC 144 he’ll do so as a significant underdog. Even Jackson, whose experience and accomplishments outweigh Bader’s without question, hasn’t seemed particularly jazzed about the pairing so much as the fight taking place in his former stomping ground of Japan.

Of course, none of that fazes Bader. In fact he actually enjoys the lack of pressure created by so many people counting him out.

“He’s fought over there, he’s popular over there…but that doesn’t matter to me. I relish the role of the underdog, going in there and beating someone like ‘Rampage’,” said Bader in an interview with the UFC promoting Saturday night’s scrap. “So, if anything, that’s gonna give me more motivation.”

As far as achieving his goal and beating Jackson, Bader has no illusions about the difficulty in doing so but has a gameplan in mind that could very well be successful given some of Jackson’s past difficulties against accomplished grapplers.

“I’m gonna be smart about it,” explained Bader. “I’m not gonna just go out there and trade punches with ‘Rampage’. I’m not afraid to go out there and strike with him but I’m gonna mix every bit of my MMA training up. I’m gonna use my wrestling, I’m gonna use some kicks, I’m gonna use some boxing.”

“If I go in there just trying to take him down that’s not gonna work. I’ve gotta mix everything up,” he concluded on the topic.

Bader-Jackson serves as the co-headliner at UFC 144 with Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson filling the main event slot. Other featured bouts on PPV include Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama, Bart Palaszewski vs. Hatsu Hioki, and Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis.

Check out the full interview with Bader below:

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

8 COMMENTS
  • Sorry Bader….you’re bein fed to the wolves here……Tito’s right hand hasnt hurt anyone since Ken Shamrock and it almost KO’d him….Rampages hands are scary and his TDD is great. Bader’s in for a rough day.

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  • THEGUNNER says:

    Agreed. I say if he loses this fight and his next hes out.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    He’s definitely the underdog, but I’m still not sure about this fight. The Ortiz fight was definitely a reminder that Bader’s still green, but considering that’s one of the few times Tito’s caught anyone with a solid shot since Ken Shamrock, I don’t think it’s that embarrassing.

    I am still not sure who to pick in this fight. Which is weird, since you guys are making sense. /shrug

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  • MCM says:

    I lean toward Bader. I know, I know, I always pick against Rampage. But I think this is a tougher fight than people are giving it credit for.

    Rampage is known for his KO power, but he hasn’t KO’d anyone of significance since Chuck, and looked what his chin turned out to be like. So I doubt he’ll be able to KO Bader. Rock him? Sure, but not knock him out. I also don’t think Rampage will sub Bader cause he hasn’t subbed anyone in over a decade. That leaves his only avenue of wining, Dec.
    Bader, on the other hand, may not be as technically sound in his striking, but as of late, he hits harder, and Rampage has been rocked in his last couple of fights. And even though Rampage has one of the best TDD in the game, Bader is one hell of a wrestler and can put anyone on their back. Bader is no Jon Jones, but Jones did show that even the best Rampage will tap out.

    I’m not going so far as to say this is a lock for Ryan or even that he’s gonna win. I just think it’s silly to count him out when he’s got all the tools to win this fight.

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  • Rece Rock says:

    ummm WAR RAMPAGE… c’mon it’s in fucking Japan.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    Rampage’s most brutal losses were in Japan.

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  • Rece Rock says:

    True… but That wasn’t really my point… my point was more about cheering for Rampage because of the PRIDE/ Japan nostalgia.

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  • Lord Faust says:

    I do that for basically any fighter. I still want to see Rampage.

    I’m pretty sure I’m taking Bader in this one. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a legit upset. Either way, I think this will be a very good fight to watch.

    This is the only fight I’m still stewing over. I think it’s more intriguing than a lot of people are giving it credit for.

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