Ryan Bader had hoped for a shot at the light heavyweight UFC championship next, after having won four straight fights. Instead, he'll get former champion Rashad Evans at UFC 192 on Oct. 3.
At least, that's what's on the schedule. During a recent interview with Submission Radio, Bader said that he would be surprised if "Suga" actually makes the date.
After all, at that point it will have been nerly two full years since Evans last competed, due to serious injuries and repeated surgeries. Bader isn't convinced that Evans, who will be 36 this fall, can still hold up to the rigors of a training camp.
"Honestly, I'm surprised if he shows up," Bader said.
"If you're not training for two years your body isn't used to that, the rigors of a training camp and what you have to put it through to be in peak physical condition. Yeah you can skate by and do just enough and show up to the fight pretty much unprepared but you made it. So we'll see how that happens. Two ACL surgeries in a row, it's no joke, especially at his age. So that, coupled with the whole deal of ring rust, and like I said, we're at two different points right now."
Obviously, Evans has a much different view on the fight. In fact, he has gone so far as to call Bader an "easy" bout for him.
"He said I'm an easy fight and all that kind of stuff, too. I love it," the 32-year-old said.
"I love it. I love it when people overlook me, underestimate me. He's going to be in for a rude awakening and he's going to realize that I'm not the same fighter that he watched even a fight ago. So that's what I love to do. I love to surprise him and everybody else, all the fans, the UFC and like you were saying earlier, earn that shot and have there be no doubt in anybody's mind that I'm next in line."
If Evans does make it to UFC 192, and Bader does get his chance to prove that he's no easy out, he doesn't actually have a specific prediction. He is confident, however, that he can finish the job.
"I don't know what it's going to be, but I look to go out there and finish him and earn my [title] shot," he said.
"So, I'm going to call a finish. I don't know when and I don't know how, but I'm going to make it happen."