September 17, 2010

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com The plan for Ryan Bader is pretty clear. He wants to get to the UFC light heavyweight title, and he’ll go through anyone to get there.

The next step for that goal comes at UFC 119 where the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the night’s co-main event. UFC president Dana White has hinted that the winner of their bout could be the next person to face phenom Jon Jones.

If that’s the path the UFC has laid out for him, Bader is more than okay with that, because it’s not about who, it’s about how. How he gets a shot at the 205-pound divisional title.

“With that being said, not looking past Nogueira, yeah I’m absolutely fine with that,” Bader told MMAWeekly Radio about facing Jones. “All I want is to get to my ultimate goal, which is to win that belt.”

The 205-pound division in the UFC is arguably one of the deepest and most dangerous divisions in the sport. The championship has floated around between several fighters, with no one defending the belt more than one time since Chuck Liddell was champion.

Bader’s opinion of facing Jones is like that of facing any top-level fighter: he’s going to have to face them eventually, so why avoid it?

“Whoever I have to go through that’s fine with me,” Bader said. “Whether it’s Jon Jones, whether it’s somebody else, it doesn’t matter. I’m getting to that point right now where I’m fighting tough guys every single time. You’re just going to trade one tough guy for another. It really doesn’t matter.”

The choice is what Bader is happy to surrender if the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a crack at the title. If the UFC says fight Jon Jones, guess what? Ryan Bader will happily fight Jon Jones.

“If the UFC says ‘hey, you’ve got to fight him to get a fight for the title, for No. 1 contendership’ of course you’re going to take that,” Bader commented.
With the test of Nogueira standing directly in his way next weekend, Bader is focused on beating him, or whoever else the UFC throws at him.

In his mind, Bader believes he’s no more than a couple of fights away from a title shot, and that makes him more motivated to win than anything else.

“I’m leaving it up to them,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out, win this fight, after that I assume I win one more, I get a title shot, or at the most two more.”

Ryan Bader will look to take that next step at UFC 119 in Indianapolis next Saturday night.