Ryan Bader (14-2) entered 2011 as one of the top prospects in the light heavyweight division. The former Arizona State wrester was 12-0 in his MMA career and on the cusp of getting a title shot.
At UFC 126 in February of 2011 Bader faced Jon Jones (15-1) in a battle of the light heavyweight division's brightest stars. Jones stopped Bader in the second round with a modified guillotine choke submission. Jones was offered a title shot after the fight, and Bader sunk back into the stacked light heavyweight division.
In July, Bader faced Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 in Las Vegas. Ortiz had not won a fight in five years and Bader came into the fight heavily favored. Ortiz, who was fighting for his job, locked in a guillotine choke and defeated Bader in the first round. Bader was suddenly lost in the very deep light heavyweight division.
Bader was born in Reno, NV, he attended McQueen High School, where he was the captain of both the football and wrestling teams. Bader was a two-time Nevada state wrestling champion was named the 2001 Nevada Defensive Player of the Year while guiding the football team to a state championship.
Bader wrestled at Arizona State from 2002-2005. He compiled 88 career wins and had a 37-18 record in duel meets. Bader won the Pac-10 championship in 2003 and 2004 at 197-pounds.
Bader won "The Ultimate Fighter Season 8," defeating Vinny Magalhaes in the show's finale. After winning his first five fights in the UFC, Bader ran into the buzz saw that is Jon Jones (we know how that turned out).
After suffering two consecutive defeats, Bader faced veteren Jason Brilz on the preliminary card at UFC 139. Bader turned in one of the most dominating performances of his career, knocking out Brilz in just over a minute.
Bader now faces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-9) in the co-main event of UFC 144. Jackson is the most accomplished fighter that Bader has fought in his career. Jackson held the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, and fought in Pride FC from 2001-2006.
Bader looks to continue his climb back to the top of his division. A victory over Jackson elevates Bader back into contention at light heavyweight.