Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is just as interested in the potential UFC superfight between superstar Jon Jones and UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou as everyone else in the world. Bader told Heavy he actually favors Jones in the proposed clash.
“I think Jones gets it done,” Bader said. “It’s hard to go against him.”
Bader believes Jones and his stalwart team over at Jackson Wink MMA Academy would come up with the perfect game plan to fell the menacing heavyweight champion, Ngannou.
It might not end up being the most dazzling display of cage-fighting entertainment, but Bader believes Jones will figure out a way to win the fight.
“He goes back to his wrestling, and maybe it’s a boring fight,” Bader said.
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Bader on Jones: ‘The Best Ever’
A former UFC star and first-ever Bellator “champ champ”, Bader hailed Jones as “the best ever” and said the American’s glossy record against top-notch competition is what sets him apart from just about everyone else in the sport’s history.
“If you’re in this game long enough, you’re going to have some bad fights…his last couple of fights were kind of tossups…but he’s still never lost. That’s crazy in a sport like this. Everybody loses,” Bader said.
Still, Bader said it’s a sizzling matchup between two of the biggest stars in the sport and that Ngannou’s otherworldly power makes him dangerous to anyone he fights, even the likes of “Bones”.
“Maybe it’s Jon’s time in fighting Francis? Who knows? But that’s why the fight is so intriguing. You have an absolute monster who can knock anyone out and one of the greatest of all-time, if not the greatest of all-time, coming up in weight,” Bader said.
Bader wants to see what happens.
“That’s why they got to make that fight,” Bader said.
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Bader Expects UFC To Make Fight
While Ngannou vs. Jones hasn’t yet been announced, Bader does expect the company to eventually make the fight happen.
“Man, I think they need to, and I think there’s a lot of public pressure on that,” Bader said.
While UFC president Dana White and Jones have gone back and forth at each other through the media ever since the fight became a legit possibility after Ngannou stopped Miocic in the second round for the belt at UFC 260 in March, Bader noted the UFC boss had done the same with other stars and pretty much always comes through with making the biggest fights happen.
“You’ve seen these little spats before between fighters and Dana, but if it’s a big enough fight they usually come together,” Bader said.
Bader Breaks Down Matchup
Bader was particularly interested in seeing how the longtime 205-pound ace Jones looked with 30 or 40 more pounds behind all his strikes. More importantly, he wants to see how it compares to Ngannou’s wild power.
“That’s the thing. He’s never had crazy punching power. His kicks are obviously great. His distance. His weird style. So we’ll see that game plan. Obviously, Francis can knock anybody out at any given moment,” Bader said.
Bader expects Jones to blend his newfound power with the technical precision that’s helped the fighter stay at the top of the sport for over a decade.
“He’ll definitely have more power, but I don’t think he’ll want to match power for power with Francis,” Bader said.
Bader Impressed with Ngannou’s Last Fight
Bader was impressed with Ngannou’s victory over Miocic at UFC 260.
“Francis is a scary dude,” Bader said.
Bader believes Ngannou looked better than ever in that fight, and he’s anxious to see what happens next for the UFC’s new heavyweight champion.
“He looked really good. In the past, you would see him just be wild and come straight at somebody. Yeah, he knocked them out, but you were always thinking that if somebody more composed was in there it might be bad for Francis,” Bader said.
But this patient version of Ngannou?
“He looked amazing. He was composed. He obviously hits hard as hell, but he was definitely a scary dude in there because he waited for his opportunity and knocked Stipe down but didn’t get too crazy, he waited for his spot and absolutely flatlined him,” Bader said.
Bader notes the biggest difference was Ngannou’s sudden ability to halt Miocic’s takedowns. In their first encounter three years ago at UFC 226, Miococ landed six of 14 takedowns across five rounds to secure the unanimous decision win.
But the rematch netted Miocic zero of them.
“For me, the turning point was when he stuffed Stipe’s takedowns. I was like ‘Oh boy. That’s not good,'” Bader said.
Bader Talks Facing Ngannou and Exciting UFC Showdown
Without even having to be asked, Bader almost immediately began to wonder aloud how a cross-promotional showdown would go between Bellator’s heavyweight king, Bader, and the UFC’s heavyweight champion, Ngannou.
“You know that’s my go-to. I’m going to wrestle. He stuffed that shot, and I was like ‘Okay, what now?'” Bader said.
Like most other cross-promotional events, Ngannou vs. Bader would never really happen. The companies have no incentive to work together, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
But Ngannou vs. Jones? That one could be on the way soon.
“But we’ll see. I’m excited to see the potential Jon Jones fight. Jones always comes with an amazing game plan. He’s smart. He’s long. He obviously has good wrestling, too. I’m definitely excited for that fight,” Bader said.
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