Top prospect Bader ready for close-up against Nogueira at UFC 119
The UFC's light heavyweight division has long been the promotion's premier class. With relatively few exceptions, the UFC has locked down top stars and prospects at that weight, which makes
"I'm undefeated in this division, one step closer to the title," Bader said after arriving in Indianapolis, where he fights respected veteran
Glancing at Bader's 11-0 record, it's clear Nogueira represents the stiffest test of the powerful prospect's expectation that one day he'll stand atop a division that, over the last decade, gave rise to fighters like
Invariably, Bader finds himself being compared to
One never knows if he can hack it until he's called to do so. For as much confidence as the 6-foot-2 Bader exudes, even he wasn't sure if he belonged until his last bout, when he stepped in the cage against veteran
"I didn't know if he was on another level," Bader said. "I didn't know. But right when we started fighting, I knew."
SI.com caught up with Bader on Wednesday to talk about his budding career, the Arizona State wrestling pedigree and what drives him to fight.
The gym is a 25,000-square-foot facility, 5,000 square feet of mats, a replica of the UFC Octagon. It's also a fitness center. It has all the treadmills, all the weights you need. Half-court basketball court. It's a one-stop shop for us so we don't have to travel around. We can just go to our gym, not worry about it, and have people put us through our work. It should be nice to have our own place. We're having different guys come in.