It will be a battle of two of the fastest rising stars in the light heavyweight division when Ryan Bader meets Jon Jones at UFC 126 in February, but the hype for the bout has begun already.
Fresh off of his honeymoon, Bader is already in preparation mode to get ready to deal with the problems that Jones potentially presents in this fight. The former Arizona State All-American is quick to point out however that this isn’t the first time he’s faced a fighter with an unusual offense.
“It’s hard to emulate Jon Jones, just like it was hard to emulate Keith Jardine,” Bader said on Friday. “They’re both unorthodox, Jon is a great, dynamic, exciting fighter. He’s flashy, (throws) spinning elbows, spinning back kicks. I’m more of a grinder and just go out there and get the job done.”
Jones has faced some tough competition in the UFC including Brandon Vera, Vladdy Matyushenko and Stephan Bonnar, but Bader believes that he’s got a certain skill set that the Greg Jackson trained fighter hasn’t dealt with yet.
“I think he has to respect me a little more than he has his last opponents of getting taken down, or landing the big power shots, so I’m sure he’s going to try some flashy stuff, but I think he’s going to be toned down a little bit,” Bader predicted.
The method that Jones has used in past fights has been very successful, but Bader also knows that his upcoming opponent takes a lot of chances in the moves that he goes for, and if the timing is off by even a second, things could go wrong and go wrong quickly.
“He’s coming in with a spinning back elbow, he has his back turned to you for a split second there, you can get a double leg. He’s got to respect,” Bader commented. “He’s fought and destroyed some great wrestlers, but every fight’s different, there’s a lot on the line this fight.”
It’s been part of the mystique that Jon Jones has built because of his unique and devastating style, and Bader knows just how dangerous that style can be. However, Bader doesn’t plan on re-inventing the wheel to get ready for Jones.
“I’m going to keep doing the same things I’ve been doing in my camp, I’ve been successful so far,” Bader said. “I’m always working on improving my stand-up and my ground game, so I’m going to continue to do that.”
Bader faces Jones at UFC 126 during Super Bowl weekend on Feb 5, 2011.