Why Ryan Bader thinks a Jon Jones rematch would be a different fight than UFC 126 in 2011

Ryan Bader is confident he would do a lot better if he ever got the chance to run things back with UFC champ Jon Jones.

Bader (31-7) faced Jones (27-1 MMA, 21-1 UFC) at UFC 126 in February 2011 in a matchup to dub the “next big thing” in the sport. Jones ended up dominating Bader en route to a second-round submission, handing him his first career loss.

Since then, both fighters’ careers have flourished. Jones went on to reign over the UFC’s light heavyweight division for years and recently captured the UFC heavyweight title. Bader would also see success in two divisions, but under a different banner. Bader became a two-weight champion at Bellator, and thinks he’s grown exponentially since fighting Jones 13 years ago.

“I think it would definitely be a different fight,” Bader told MMA Junkie Radio. “Jones has proven himself over and over again. I feel like he’s the best fighter in the world, but my mentality now from what it was back then, basically a kid new to this sport, it would definitely be a different fight for sure.

“Who knows the outcome, but that would be a fun one. I got to run a few back, undefeated in rematches, and that would be one of the fights that you can go in and kind of see how far you’ve grown from whenever that fight happened, 2011 or something to 2024. That would be something very, very cool.”

Bellator heavyweight champ Bader takes on PFL heavyweight champ Renan Ferreira in the main event of PFL vs. Bellator: Champions (ESPN+, DAZN, ESPNews) Feb. 24 at Boulevard Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Bader loves the idea of cross-promotional fights and wants to see more of it.

“That’s what’s kind of cool about this one we have coming up, it’s promotion vs. promotion and that’s what the fans want to see,” Bader said. “They always talk about how would this guy do if he went to over to the UFC, or the UFC (champ) fought a Bellator champ, this and that. So, they’re fun fights and I wish we could do that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for PFL vs. Bellator.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie