Ryan Bader dons a perfect 12-0 resume, yet the light heavyweight will be a significant 2.5-to-1 underdog against Jon Jones this Saturday at “UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort.”
“I’ve been the underdog a lot in the UFC and I love playing that role. It’s going to be sweet to go out there and upset [the odds makers],” Bader told ESPN.co.uk.
Actually, the only time “Darth” has been a dark horse inside the Octagon was when he TKO’d Vinny Magalhaes at “The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale” to kick start his UFC career.
Regardless, Bader shouldn’t feel too badly about his long shot status for Saturday’s showdown. Jones would be favored against practically every 205-pounder on the planet.
UFC president Dana White has promised Jones a top contender fight if he disposes of Bader. It’s believed Bader will be offered the same opportunity should he shock the world.
“This fight is huge and this fight is the future. The winner is right up there with the top contenders,” Bader stated. “I’m not anybody’s stepping stone, I’m not a gauge, I’m here to win and that’s what I’ll do.”
Plenty of fighters have been dubbed MMA’s “Next Big Thing” throughout the years, but “Bones” continues to deliver each time he takes center stage. While Jones has potential G.O.A.T. in him, Bader isn’t fazed in the least.
“It doesn’t matter who stands in front of me, I’ve got to find a way to go out there and win,” said Bader. “Jon Jones is a dynamic fighter, he’s very exciting, he’s been going out there and beating people convincingly … but I’m looking to go out there and cut through the hype to beat Jon Jones.
“I think I have a better range in my wrestling base, and my power … he’s got to respect it. He’s got to be smart about rushing in on me.”
The up-and-comers will battle this Saturday inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.