UFC: Ryan Bader Finds the Light
Ryan Bader has always been a little bit of a paradox in the light heavyweight division. On paper, Bader should be an absolute animal. He has the wrestling credentials to be considered very dangerous, and a right hand that most fighters are wary of. He won his season of the Ultimate Fighter and is usually posted within the top-10 of the division. The only problem is that he has always fallen against top-level competition, and he usually did because he got overly eager.
Bader is a great fighter and is usually looking to finish the fight as soon as possible. Sometimes this works, but most of the time this leaves him open for mistakes that can be taken advantage of. For example; when Bader fought Tito Ortiz, he wanted that knockout so bad that he could taste it. He went in too aggressively and got choked out.
It would seem that that an instance like this would be enough for any fighter to learn their lesson. However, it did not. Earlier this year, Bader had no. 1 contender Glover Teixeira on the ropes after Bader landed a bomb on his jaw. He got over-committed with power shots and was knocked out by Teixeira with a short counter.
Earlier this week, Bader admitted that he had to work on his patience in the Octagon. Not only did he do that against Anthony Perosh, but he showed a bigger jump in his fighting intelligence. Instead circling and searching for the big shot, he found success in his takedowns and kept using them. He knew he was winning the fight that way and stuck with what worked.
He needs to do this for every fight; if this is the Bader that we are going to continue to see in the Octagon, he could very well be top-five in the division by the end of next year.