Ryan Bader will be taking on the returning Rashad Evans on the main card of UFC 192, but it wasn’t the bout he really wanted. Riding a four-fight win streak, he expected to be facing Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title. Instead, Alexander Gustafsson was given the shot despite coming off a loss. Bader discussed his disappointment on MMA Junkie Radio, but says that securing a bout with Evans helped him to deal with it:
“You know, I’m not one to kind of dwell and cry about it. I got over it pretty quickly when I learned I had a fight and I was fighting a name like Rashad. It does suck to have the last two guys get title shots off a loss. But if I look at it on the positive side going into this fight, win or lose I still have a shot at getting a title shot.”
Another interesting aspect of the conversation was his honesty about considering other options besides the UFC when these sorts of setbacks occur. Being passed over is never fun, but being passed over for a guy that was knocked out in his last bout (by Anthony Johnson) did lead Bader to consider other options. Ultimately though, he wants to be a UFC fighter:
“You always have to look out for yourself first and foremost, especially in this sport,” Bader said. “We’re all independent contractors. We have our team. I have a kind of unique thing in Arizona where we own the gym, we have a great team together. But you’re going out there, you’re providing for your family by yourself. You have people around you, but you have to look out for number one. It all runs through your mind. You see a lot more people fighting out their contracts now.
“I still enjoy fighting the elite of the elite in the top organization. I want to be a UFC fighter. At times like that, where you get passed over, you definitely think of other options. Will I ever get there? I’m doing the right things, I’m going out there and winning. Are they going to hold up their end of the bargain? For me, that’s gone through my mind. But I’ve got a big fight. If we weren’t fighting Cormier and we didn’t get that Anthony Johnson fight like we were trying and Cormier fight got pulled. Gustafsson got it coming off a knockout loss to the guy that just fought for the title. But I got the Rashad fight. He’s a top five guy, he’s a former champion. I just told myself I was going to let everything go and go out there and beat this guy and make a statement.
If I don’t get it then, then I don’t know what to do.”
UFC 192 goes down in Houston, Texas on October 3rd.
About the author