Ryan Bader: Glover Teixeira Hype Is Justified but He Can Be Put Away

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Ryan Bader: Glover Teixeira Hype Is Justified but He Can Be Put Away
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at the odds heading into UFC Fight Night 28, it would appear on paper that former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader has no business being in the same cage as Glover Teixeira.

Currently, the experts in Las Vegas have Teixeira as a whopping 440-point favorite over Bader, who comes in as the underdog at plus-350.

Now, it's understandable on some level why Teixeira is the favorite—he's undefeated in the UFC, on an incredible winning streak and has finished three out of his four opponents thus far by knockout or submission inside the first two rounds. He's also the top pick to face the winner in the UFC 165 main event between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.

If there is one glaring difference when looking at Teixeira's record next to Bader's, it's the fact that one of them has faced a laundry list of top-ten fighters and the other hasn't taken on one yet in the UFC.  

Throughout the course of his UFC career, Bader has faced some of the stiffest competition in the light heavyweight division and holds wins over fighters such as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as well as Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. There's no denying the losses on his record, either, to guys like Lyoto Machida and Jon Jones, but he's taken on every challenge the UFC has presented him with head on.

So Bader admits it's a bit puzzling why Teixeira is coming into their bout as such a decided favorite, but it gives him plenty of bulletin board material to gain motivation as he heads into Wednesday night's fight in Brazil.

"I love to be in this position to have everybody counting me out," Bader said. "Everybody will be real surprised at the end of the night when I go out there and get the win, and it just makes a little bit sweeter."

Teixeira definitely has a lot of talent, but there's also no getting around the fact that Bader will be by far his toughest test to date thus far in the Octagon. Hype is a funny thing in mixed martial arts because it can build a fighter up to the greatest heights and then tear him down just as easily when things go awry.

Bader knows that feeling all too well.

"It comes with the territory. People bring stuff out, I remember people saying 'you got dropped by Tito (Ortiz), you suck,' and they don't credit any of my other wins or that I'm 17-3. It comes with the territory," Bader said. "It does kind of piss you off a little bit when everybody is counting you out. The fans are counting you out. Glover's talking about his fight with (Jon) Jones. Jones is talking about his fight with Glover in the future, all that kind of stuff."

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Since Jones took over the light heavyweight division in 2011, there hasn't been another fighter touted as highly as Teixeira since he made his UFC debut. As a longtime training partner of former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, Teixeira's name has been heard for years, but he's just now making a major push into the 205-pound rankings.

Thus far in his UFC career, Teixeira has been virtually flawless, but there are still some facets of his game that we haven't seen yet. Bader wants to see just how good Teixeira really is and put him to the test in their fight.

"I think the hype is justified coming in, being undefeated and going on an 18-fight win streak. That's hard to do regardless of anybody. He hasn't fought the same caliber of guys that I have," Bader said. "Four out of my last six fights have been champions or former champions, and I've fought consistent top-ten guys, and he hasn't. My three losses that I do have are to champions.

"I do think I'm the toughest guy he's fought. It's a step up in competition, and I look to spoil his plans and everybody else's plans for him. We do have a five-round fight here for the main event. I feel he does get a little tired sometimes, and he can be put away. We've seen him rocked before, and we've never seen him on his back either. I look to exploit all those in the fight."

While all the discussion going into UFC Fight Night 28 seems to be about Teixeira's path to a title shot, Bader is happy to sit back in the shadows and let the spotlight shine down on his opponent.

All the talk and all the publicity in the world don't matter on fight night, and Bader is looking to jumpstart his own career back into title discussion if he can dispatch Teixeira on Wednesday night.

"I feel like I've hit my stride as a fighter too and put everything together," Bader said. "We saw a little bit of that with (Jason) Brilz and Rampage (Jackson), I had a setback with (Lyoto) Machida, and it was a quick fight after with (Vladdy) Matyushenko when I got the submission. I didn't really get to show too much.

"I feel like I'm hitting my stride and have everything really come together. I think this is the fight where I do make that statement that I'm getting better every fight that I'm out there. I'm getting smarter, I'm in better shape and with just more experience. I feel like this fight is the fight where I go out there and prove a lot of people wrong. A lot of people are counting me totally out of this fight. It will put me closer to where I want to be and where I deserve to be."

If Bader needs any kind of inspiration, he needs to look no further than his good friend Chris Weidman, whom he has trained with in the past and also shares the same manager. Weidman went into his fight against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva with much closer odds than Bader will have against Teixeira, but despite him being the popular pick going into the fight, there was no doubt Silva was the one most expected to walk out with the belt that night.

Bader's faith in Weidman never wavered, and he came through with one of the biggest knockouts in MMA history. Now it's Bader's turn to upend the tables on Teixeira and put his own name back on the map as one of the best light heavyweights in the UFC.

"I know I can go out there and beat him. I know I'm doing the right training and all that. Being counted out is the best thing," Bader said. "I remember when we were at (Chris) Weidman's and Anderson (Silva's) fight, and we were all sitting there eating before we were walking into the fight, and we were with a bunch of friends, and we're all picking Weidman. There was a highlight of Weidman and then of Anderson Silva, and a couple of the friends looked at each other and they were like 'I don't know if he can do it.' Then he went out there and did it and it was huge.

"That's what I want to do to Glover. I want to get in there and beat him. It shoots me up the rankings and start getting talked about, and that's how you get a title shot eventually. It starts right here, and I'm in a good position to do it."

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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