Ryan Bader has been a standout UFC light heavyweight for six years now, but that UFC title shot has always eluded him, despite coming close on four separate occasions.
Bader thinks he is closer than ever now though.
“I’m ranked No. 4 (in the UFC’s rankings), but rankings don’t really mean all that much,” Bader told MMAjunkie. “I believe I’m one fight away at all times from getting a title shot and being up there. I have to beat one of those top three guys.”
He’s set to face “Little Nog,” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a rematch from 2010 at UFC 119 which he won by unanimous decision. Bader does not expect the fight result to come out any different for part two, as he sees much more development in himself than his opponent in that six-year span.
“The thing is, I’ve evolved since then,” Bader said. “I’m not even close to the fighter I was six years ago. I’m proficient on my feet and on the ground; I’m experienced having fought everybody. I’ve fought the who’s who of MMA. (The first fight) was a fight where I had to take him down, because I didn’t know what to do on my feet.
“I think there was more change in me than him. I think I’ve evolved more than he has in our first fight.”
In his last bout, Bader scored a Knockout of the Year candidate against Ilir Latifi at UFC Fight Night 93.
“I feel like I’m finally showing people what I can do,” he said. “Getting that KO, it was momentum. I want to carry it on in this fight.”
The rematch is set to take place at UFC Fight Night 100.