Ryan Bader is the current Bellator light-heavyweight champion. He is the winner of the light-heavyweight contract on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
First Attempted Title RunEdit
"Darth" Bader most recently defeated veteran Keith Jardine via third round knockout.
A week later, he was confirmed to be facing Jones in January 2011. Jones defeated Bader for the first time in his career via second-round guillotine choke submission.
He next faced former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Ortiz handed him his second-straight loss via guillotine submission in the first round after knocking him to the mat with a right hand to the chin.
Bader next signed up to face Jason Brilz in what would likely be a loser-leaves-town match. Bader knocked Brilz unconscious very quickly, showing that he still belonged in the Octagon.
Bader next took a huge step up in competition to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion and Pride veteran Quinton Jackson in Japan. Bader defeated Jackson via a very impressive unanimous decision, stepping back into the upper echelon of the UFC's light-heavyweight division as he had promised.
Bader next signed to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Machida knocked Bader out with one punch in the second round.
Bader next signed to face veteran Vladimir Matyushenko. He choked Matyushenko out in less than a minute earning the record of fastest UFC light-heavyweight submission.
Bader was next set to face contender Glover Teixeira. Unfortunately he was injured and replaced by James Te-Huna. After recovering Bader was rumored to again be facing Teixeira. This time the fight went through as Bader's first UFC main event; Bader rocked the highly-touted Teixeira in the first round but as he rushed in to finish he was knocked unconscious himself.
Second Attempted Title RunEdit
Bader next signed to fight veteran Anthony Perosh. He dominated and bloodied Perosh en route to a unanimous decision.
Bader next signed to fight former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante. He dominated Cavalcante en route to a unanimous decision victory, the first time anyone had taken Cavalcante the full distance.
Bader wasted little time in next signing to fight Strikeforce veteran Ovince St. Preux. Bader dominated St. Preux en route to a dominant but lackluster unanimous decision.
Bader next fought wrestler Phil Davis defeating Davis via a very close and controversial split decision.
Bader next fought former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans showing much-improved striking in an impressive unanimous decision victory.
Bader then fought Anthony Johnson ostensibly for a UFC light-heavyweight title shot but unfortunately Johnson dominated Bader en route to a quick round one knockout loss.
After extensive negotiations Bader ended up signing with the UFC's rival promotion Bellator. Immediately Bader called out Bellator light-heavyweight champion Phil Davis for a rematch on Bellator's pay-per-view card in June 2017 in Madison Square Garden. Davis accepted eagerly. Bader defeated Davis via a tepidly paced split decision to earn the title.
- *Ryan Bader vs. Vinny Magalhaes - The fight was the light-heavyweight final for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
- Ryan Bader vs. Carmelo Marrero - Bader came into the fight undefeated and after the loss, Carmelo Marrero was cut from the UFC.
- Keith Jardine vs. Ryan Bader - Bader came into the fight undefeated and the fight was Keith Jardine's second straight knockout loss.
- Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
- Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader - The fight was the first loss for Bader and with the win, Jon Jones earned the chance to replace his injured team-mate Rashad Evans in a title fight versus light-heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua.
- Ryan Bader vs. Jason Brilz - After the fight, Jason Brilz was cut.
- Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader - The fight was possibly for a shot at the UFC light-heavyweight title.
- Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
- Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader
- Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans