Ryan Bader, after taking out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for a second time, has quietly become one of the highest profile free agents on the market.
Heading into his UFC Fight Night 100 headliner with Nogueira, Bader could have inked a new deal with the UFC. He didn’t feel the promotion’s offer was quite what he wanted it to be, so he opted to roll the dice and fight it out, believing that he would again get the better of his Brazilian foe.
So what comes next? For Bader, it’s uncharted territory.
“I haven’t really thought about it. When it came time to re-up on that fight it was kind of like why not fight it out? I got the Lil Nog fight and now here we are,” Bader said at the UFC Fight Night 100 post-fight press conference.
“Look, I love the UFC, I want to fight in the UFC. It’s got to make sense though.”
Although he said that “it’s got to make sense,” it didn’t appear that Bader was talking as much about money as he was opportunities, particularly an opportunity to fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship.
“I’ve been top five for a while now and I want those big fights. There’s a big fight coming up in December, so we’ll just have to get with them and see where we go from here really,” he said, referring to Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson at UFC 206.
“I’ve fought everybody in this division and been consistent. I think I’ve won seven out of my last eight fights, so I feel like I hit my stride now because I had the momentum after my last loss. I said screw it, I’m just going to go out there and do what I do and not over think it. That’s my mindset and hopefully things fall into place.”