UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo main event fighter Ryan Bader has voiced his desire to get the next title shot - if he wins this weekend, of course.
"I’m right there, you know," Bader said during a media day event (h/t MMAFighting.com) "I’m ranked Number 4, but rankings don’t really mean that much. I believe I’m one fight away at all times from getting a title shot and being up there. I’m one of the top guys. I have to beat one of those top three guys."
Bader is set to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for what is his last contractual UFC bout.
Does that mean if he doesn't get the next title shot he might walk away? What will he do if he loses to Nogueira?
Current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is facing Anthony "Rumble" Johnson at UFC 207 later this year, but I just can't see Bader getting the title shot with either potential winner.
Bader has been in this position before. He was poised for a potential shot at the belt after going six wins in a row, but on his way up, he lost to Johnson and the title shot possibility got farther and farther away.
"I got to a point I was so focused on getting a title shot, all the thoughts in my head was to go out there and win at all costs," he said. "So, maybe it made me fight a certain way, maybe take a lot of risks and stuff like that."
The thing is, there's so much going on in the light heavyweight division (including the absence of its star, Jon Jones) that a title shot for Bader seems unlikely, even if he knocks out Nogueira in spectacular fashion.
A title shot in Bellator might be more likely. After all, there are some of his former foes in the Bellator ranks that fans might love to see rematches with (ahem, Tito Ortiz).
Regardless of what Bader wants, the UFC is in charge, and he'll either have to agree with their decisions or leave, so we'll just have to wait and see.