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Q&A with light heavyweight Ryan Bader

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DETROIT — The UFC held an open question and answer session Friday with up-and-comer light heavyweight Ryan Bader (12-0) at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

Bader is expected to face fellow prospect Jon Jones (11-1) in February. Here are a few highlights from his interaction with the fans.

What can you say about Jon Jones and how are you planning to prepare for him?

I’ll bring in more guys to camp but it’s hard to emulate Jon Jones. It was hard to emulate Keith Jardine too. They’re both unorthodox. Jon is a great, dynamic, exciting fighter. I’m more of a grinder, just get out there and get the job done. I think he has to respect me a little more than last opponents as far as getting taken down or taking a hard shot. I think he’ll tone it down a bit.

You train with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, do you think he would ever drop to the light heavyweight division?

I’ve never seen him below 225 pounds. He may not look that cut but he has big legs and he’s a big guy. He does have a huge head. You look at his hairline and it’s like three feet across. I don’t think he’ll go down to 205. He wants to be heavyweight champion, I think he’ll stay there the rest of his career.

I saw on your record you had a Vale Tudo fight in Mexico awhile back, can you talk about it?

It was actually C.B. Dolloway, myself and Cain Velasquez, all on the card. We weighed-in on the bathroom scale in a hotel lobby near the Mexico border. A bus took us to the border and we walked through with our bags and ended up walking a half-mile into Mexico to a bus that took us to a bull-fighting ring.

We warmed up in the ring and it was just lead paint on the ground. It was as hard as concrete. I actually had a slam where my opponent hit his head on the ground and it knocked him out. Cain’s guy backed out. He saw Cain and said, “hell no, I’m not fighting him.”

That’s actually how Cain got in the UFC. His manager called Dana White and said, “I have this guy, he’s legit but he can’t get any fights.” That was the last fight he tried to get. Five or six people had backed out on him. He got a private workout with Dana and they signed him. Now look at him.

What would your dream matchup be to watch?

I was Cain and Brock (Lesnar) but now, maybe Cain and Fedor (Emelianenko). Just to show how good Cain is and how good the UFC talent pool is. I think Cain is the best in the world. Obviously, I have something invested in that but that’s what I’d like to see.

How do you think you’re wrestling background matches up with the throws Jon Jones has been using in his fights.

My whole style of wrestling is I like to use the truck double. It’s basically a tackle for MMA. Some people say I miss a lot of shots, but I’m not missing them, that’s how I set them up. I’m not in danger if I don’t get a takedown. I’m not on my knees, I’ve never had a guillotine slapped on me my whole career. Right in the middle of the chest is where my forehead is going and if I don’t get it, I’m throwing punches from there. Jon Jones has great throws but I’ve been around the game for so long I’ll know what he’s going to do by feeling where his pressure is.

Given how good you and Jones’s records are, do you feel a title shot is next if you beat him?

I’m not looking past this fight with Jon but you never know. It depends on how the fight is won. I’ve heard that Dana is saying Jones is a year away from a title shot but I really have no clue. If we go out there and have a crappy fight, probably not. But if we have an awesome fight, maybe there is a title shot next. Maybe one more. I feel if I keep winning I’m a couple fights away but you never know.

We haven’t seen much jiu0jitsu in your game to this point, what skills do you have there?

I never really showcased any of it yet but I actually have pretty good jiu-jitsu. I like to keep position and pound from there but I definitely have jiu-jitsu. I work on that everyday. I concentrate on standup and jiu-jitsu. I feel like I’m getting better every fight. I’ve been at this a little over three years now. I’m relatively young in the sport. I learned boxing and jiu-jitsu from the ground up. I’m still a work in progress but I feel better every fight.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at LVSunFighting

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