The finish came via modified guillotine choke only 50 seconds into the first round and re-established Bader as a serious threat at 205 pounds.
It was the first time that any fighter had submitted "The Janitor" in his lengthy career, and the finish was officially the fastest light heavyweight submission in UFC history.
Here is a look at five potential fights for Bader to take next after this incredible showing.
Light heavyweight strikers Cyrille Diabate and Jimi Manuwa meet in early February. The battle not only ensures fireworks but will also determine whether Manuwa is overhyped or the real deal.
If Manuwa is successful in defeating a lengthy kickboxer in Diabate, it will illustrate that he is ready for a big step up in the division. Enter Ryan Bader, who needs some time away from top-10 opponents.
In addition, the fight will show fans if Manuwa can be more than a one-dimensional striker when Bader tests his defensive wrestling.
While Gian Villante may not have the name value of most Bader opponents, he is a Strikeforce import who is currently riding the momentum of three big wins.
The former football player has a wrestling background, although not on the same level as Bader. However, this Long Island native considers striking to be his calling card.
If the UFC wants Bader to continue evolving while waiting for big-name opponents to become available, this is a solid matchup.
James Te-Huna has been on a tear since losing to Alexander Gustafsson early in his UFC tenure.
If he defeats Ryan Jimmo next month at UFC on Fuel TV 7, he will be riding the wave of four consecutive wins.
An opponent the caliber of Bader will be well-deserved.
On the other hand, Ryan Jimmo made his UFC debut with a seven-second knockout over Anthony Perosh. It was one of the quickest finishes in MMA history, and if he can follow it by taking the momentum from Te-Huna, he will have a bright future ahead of him.
Although Ryan Bader hasn't failed any drug tests that we know of, he has more in common with Thiago Silva than it appears at first glance.
Silva was a dangerous star who spent his early UFC days undefeated. He was viewed as a top prospect until being stopped by the top fighters in the division, such as Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Alexander Gustafsson.
As a well-rounded threat who prefers striking but can grapple with the best of them, Silva is a solid matchup for Bader. Each man has some considerable gains to make if he can come away with the victory.
Perhaps Phil Davis is currently being distracted by submission ace Vinny Magalhaes.
However, if he can channel his focus on getting back into title contention, he will realize that a fight with fellow prospect Ryan Bader is a more worthwhile matchup.
Although both fighters are esteemed wrestlers, Bader has better power in his standup while Davis has excellent submissions.