Former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader has stepped inside the Octagon with the likes of current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, along with former champions Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida.
So, when he takes a look at the resume of his opponent this Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 47, Ovince St. Preux, “Darth” is less than impressed.
“He hasn’t really fought a wrestler,” said Bader, during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight. “(Gegard) Mousasi took him down at will and Mousasi isn’t known as a wrestler. I’m going to take him down and put my hands on him.
“I’ve been working on my power with my wrestling pedigree. He hasn’t fought Top-10 or Top-15 guys that matter.”
Bader (17-4) is coming off a pair of wins over Rafael Cavalcante and Anthony Perosh since a 2013 knockout loss to former No. 1 contender Glover Teixeira. He is 5-2 in his last seven, including a win over Jackson and a submission of veteran Vladimir Matyushenko.
St. Preux, a former college football player, made some interesting comments towards Bader when he appeared on “UFC Tonight” the same evening, and they only served to fire up the ex-Arizona State University wrestler.
“He’s in for a rude awakening,” Bader said. “He hasn’t fought people of my level. He hasn’t fought anyone in the Top-10. I’m going to welcome him to that level and it’s going to be a bad night for him and a long night.”
Bader also appears to have found that same level of self-confidence he displayed in rolling to the title on TUF, saying “I’m the fighter I need to be and I’m the best fighter I’ve ever been. My mentality is great. I’m going to make my win streak three. I’m going to move on and fight the top five in the division and get that title shot and win that title.
“If you look at my losses, it’s been to champs and former champs, and Glover – all tough guys. I tried to kick box with them. I didn’t wrestle with them. Now I’m mixing my wrestling in and it works best for me.”