Despite Ryan Bader’s recent success in Bellator, UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier doesn’t think ‘he would last in a fight with him.
Bader (27-5) has won his last seven fights, five of which took place in Bellator. He won the light heavyweight belt in his debut for the promotion against Phil Davis, and he has since knocked out names like Linton Vassell and Muhammed Lawal. Most recently, Bader won Bellator’s heavyweight title in January by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko in just 35 seconds.
Talking on an episode of The MMA Hour, Cormier praised Bader’s success since leaving the UFC.
“I think Ryan’s done tremendous for himself. I’ve known Ryan since he was in college,” Cormier said. “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.”
Bader and Cormier were supposed to cross paths on a Fight Night card in 2015, but Cormier was pulled from the fight to instead face Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. Touching on a potential fight between the two, Cormier was adamant Bader ‘wouldn’t be able to fight him.’
“He wouldn’t be able to fight me,” Cormier said. “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.”
Cormier will return to the cage to rematch Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 in August.