Four years after the date of their once scheduled bout, UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier has discussed a potential fight with Ryan Bader.
That 2015 bout was canceled of course, with Cormier replacing Jon Jones and becoming UFC Light Heavyweight Champion as a result. The fight with Bader never came to fruition from there and now looks less likely than ever, with ‘Darth’ thriving in Bellator instead. Bader swiftly claimed the promotion’s Light Heavyweight crown and has since won the Heavyweight Title too, dominating the division’s Grand Prix. That run culminated in an early knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko, knocking the legend unconscious and becoming a two-weight champion.
Like most onlookers, Cormier has been impressed. “I think Ryan’s done tremendous for himself. I’ve known Ryan since he was in college,” Cormier said on The MMA Hour. “He’s always been a hard worker and very committed to his family and everything else. I think he’s great. It is exciting to watch him gain a level of success that he never truly had gotten to in the UFC and the chances that he did get to get there, he had kind of faltered.
“With that being said, he just really dominated those guys and it was crazy because ‘King Mo,’ I watched him tech [Bader] in wrestling. Maybe scored like 10 takedowns. And [Bader] just truly, truly had to reset his mind to even compete against him knowing that his best skill is axed off. He can’t use it against a guy like Mo, so he went out there and knocked him out. It’s been nice, it’s been good. It’s hard watching guys like Fedor get knocked out like that. He dominated (Matt) Mitrione, knocked out Mo. It’s been good to watch him do what he’s done.”
With that being said, Cormier remains understandably confident about a potential fight against Bader. “But he wouldn’t be able to fight me. I like the guy, but it’s just different. It’s just a little bit of a different approach. Look, at the end of the day I’m just nasty ol’ boy. I learned that from Josh Barnett. You get in there, you rub your elbow in their face, you kind of run your hand over their mouth. I’m of the old school, like Josh Barnett. Hurt ‘em even when you’re not doing much and people don’t really like that.
"Even when I’m huggin’ ‘em, you know when it looks like I’m just huggin’ ‘em? I’m not just huggin’ ‘em. I’m really driving my knuckles into their body, even when I’m on top and I’ve got my elbow in the middle of the solar plexus, I’m pointing that elbow as deep in there as I can. There’s always pain, and I learned that when Josh Barnett put the pain on me when we fought in Strikeforce.
“It’s just a different type of mentality that most guys can’t match. You’ve got to be a dog if you’re going to beat Daniel Cormier — and I don’t know if he has that dog in him.”
Nonetheless, few fighters have experienced recent form like these two and considering the unlikeliness of a potential fight, this particular debate will likely rage on. Nonetheless, Cormier re-enters the octagon on August 17th, defending his title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.