Light heavyweights Glover Teixeira and Ryan Bader were originally expected to meet at UFC 160 on May 25, but a knee injury forced Bader out of the fight. Teixeira defeated Bader’s replacement, James Te Huna, by submission that night, but now that Bader is healthy, the two will finally face off at UFC Fight Night 28 on Wednesday.
While Teixeira had to change his focus to Te Huna, Bader’s focus remained on Teixeira, and he believes that is an advantage.
“We were thinking about him long before and he had to switch it up and think about Te Huna, so we've been having a long training camp for him. At least thinking about him for when I healed up and started training again and getting back at it, it was for Glover,” Bader told MMAWeekly content partner Knockout Radio.
“I was either scouting him or watching video and he's been on my mind knowing that I'm going to fight him, so I have had a lot of time to prepare for him, more so than I would have to prepare for someone else or for him to prepare for me,” he added.
UFC Fight Night 28 takes place at the Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Fighting a Brazilian in Brazil is a unique experience. The crowd is nationalistic and vocal. Bader had the opportunity to travel to Teixeira’s home country a few weeks ago to attend UFC 163 and witnessed the atmosphere firsthand.
“We got a call that we had to go down to Brazil about three weeks ago, so I was kind of bummed I had to leave in the middle of training camp, but it was good because I got to go down there and went to that UFC Rio fight,” he said.
“I was starting to listen to the energy of the crowd, the ‘You're gonna die' chants, all that kind of stuff. They were all really cool to me, really respectful. Everybody was fine, but they're definitely going to be chanting and rooting against me when it's my turn to come out, so I listened to it, I heard it, I know what to expect and it's not going to bother me,” said the 30-year-old American.
Fighting in your home country or hometown can play in your favor with not having to get acclimated to time zones and travel, but it can also be a major distraction.
“I think it's more pressure on the guy being in his hometown or home country and you have to deal with more people. For me, I'm going down there with my three coaches and that's it. So they're all in the same state of mind that I'm in,” explained Bader.
“Nobody is asking me for tickets or where my after party is at or anything like that. So I just focus on that and it's kind of like the old school wrestling days when you go to some random Midwest town in the middle of winter where you just get the job done and leave. So that's my mindset going into that,” he added.
Teixeira is the favorite heading into Wednesday’s event and is a well-rounded fighter known for his boxing ability and knockout power, as well as submission and grappling game. Bader went back to basics for this training camp, improving his boxing and polishing up his wrestling.
“I just, my knee, I couldn't get on the mat at all for a while. It's all healthy now, a non-issue. But I worked a lot exclusively on tightening up my boxing and being more technical, straight punches, all that kind of good stuff. And then I worked on trying to get back into wrestling,” he said.
“Getting the little stuff that I needed down and going and wrestling with the pure wrestlers. So I went in once a week at least and really drilled and wrestled live with those pure wrestlers and got back to the little things that you miss when you haven't been doing that exclusively for the last couple years, so definitely worked a lot on that, “ he added.
“I feel great, I had a great camp, I'm healthy. I'm in a great state physically and mentally, so I'm ready to go out there and upset Glover and all the UFC‘s plans they have for him.”