Ryan Bader suffered a major setback in his climb up the light heavyweight ladder last month when he dropped a fairly one-sided fight to Jon Jones at UFC 126. Bader was bummed he didn’t fight to his “true potential,” but wants to put the loss behind him and move “forward.” And what better for a young buck like Ryan Bader to get back in the mix than beating up a past-his-prime veteran with a big name? That seems to be what Bader has in mind. He recently told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that he wants to fight Tito Ortiz.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader told ESPN.com. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”
Bader probably isn’t going to get his wish though. In a phone interview on Inside MMA, Tito told Ron Kruck that he isn’t interested in building anyone else’s career. He only wants to fight big names from here on out.
One name sticks out amongst all of them, but I know it won’t happen. Dana says it won’t happen. Chuck (Liddell) is the person, but I know it won’t happen. Someone that I’ve lost to that I’d like to get a little payback is Randy Couture. That would be awesome. I want to fight some guys that have big names. I don’t want to fight guys where I’m building them. No more of that. Let’s fight guys with big names.
The other “big name” Tito mentioned was Forrest Griffin. The two of them got into on Twitter a couple weeks ago (seen below), and Tito thinks the rubber match would be a big fight everyone would want to see. I’d venture to say Tito’s overestimating the public’s interest in that fight though. The pay-per-view numbers from the last time they met fell somewhere in between 300k-400k, pretty close to the UFC’s PPV floor at the time.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog