The UFC has decided to throw the Season 8 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” into the deep end of the swimming pool at “UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez” as Ryan Bader will be taking on light heavyweight gatekeeper Keith Jardine.
There’s no question that Jardine poses the biggest threat to Bader’s young career, and could easily put the first loss on his unblemished record, but Bader could also grow up right in front of the MMA world by beating a tough fighter like Jardine.
A loser in four of his last six bouts, Jardine has been viewed by many as the guy that light heavyweights need to beat in order to become relevant in the 205-pound division. He owns important victories over former champion Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera.
None of that phases Bader though as he’s approaching the biggest fight of his UFC career the same as he does every other fight.
“I don’t put Jardine on a pedestal or worry about any kind of step up. He’s just another fighter standing in the way of me achieving my goal,” Bader told MMAFighting.
Bader’s goals are clear, he wants to be the best.
“My long-term goal is to become the UFC champion and to hold that 205-pound title. If you’re not really in it to do that, why even bother with a sport like this? I’m not in the UFC to be mediocre,” the former TUF champion explained.
Jardine will be a good test for Bader who has shown tremendous improvement in his stand-up, something that Jardine is wll aware of.
A win over the Greg Jackson-trained Jardine this Saturday night at UFC 110 would immediately open up doors for Bader to challenge the UFC’s elite light heavyweights in future bouts.