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Bader happy to start UFC from the bottom

Ryan (Darth) Bader hasn’t let winning Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter go to his head. Far from it.

Ryan (Darth) Bader hasn’t let winning Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter go to his head. Far from it.

As he prepares to meet Carmelo Marrero tonight on a card in Nashville (8 p.m., Spike TV), the unbeaten mixed martial arts light-heavyweight figures he has nowhere to go but up in the UFC.

“I feel after winning that I’m starting right back at the bottom, getting thrown into the UFC, the 205-pound division, which is one of the best in the world right now,” Bader said in an interview. “And so I feel like I’m the low man on the totem pole now. Definitely I stay humble at all times, I think everybody should.”

Humble, yes. Wallflower, no.

In what is billed on YouTube as his audition tape for The Ultimate Fighter, the six-foot-two Bader guzzles beer from a keg while being held upside down in the air by friends, floats naked in a pool save for a Pamela Anderson-style hat, is shown painted green like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and in a dark room practising with his lightsabre, so to speak.

Elsewhere on YouTube, he is shown administering limps by kicking the legs of surprisingly willing volunteers during a trip to Mexico.

Bader (9-0) won the reality TV show with a bang, clubbing jiu-jitsu ace Vinny Magalhaes to the ground with a right to the temple two minutes 18 seconds into the fight. The punch was so hard that Bader suffered soft tissue damage to his hand. Which only makes you wonder how Magalhaes felt.

“First of all, he’s a phenomenal athlete,” said former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit, who trains with Bader. “The guy is very tough. He is very, very strong, very powerful and he’s a big dude. But he’s so quick and so agile, he moves likes a lighter guy.

“He’s a phenomenal wrestler but on the other hand, he’s dangerous with his striking also. He’s got a lot of dangerous weapons.”

Bader, 25, has a pretty good handle on Marrero, a former heavyweight who has beaten Cheick Kongo and lost to Gabriel Gonzaga and Wilson Gouveia in the UFC. He was in the crowd when Steve Steinbeiss lost a split decision to Marrero (10-2-1) on a WEC card last November.

“I think it’s a good matchup for me,” he said. “It’ll be a good fight. It’ll be exciting but I feel I’m a better wrestler and that’s his strong point, so I just feel I’m a little better at all the aspects of the game.”

 
 
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