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Ryan Bader: Press conference altercation with Daniel Cormier 'wasn't fabricated'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ryan Bader is not a very excitable guy. Which is why it was so stunning to see him seething as he approached the press conference dais -- and Daniel Cormier -- last month.

After Cormier beat Anthony Johnson for the vacant light heavyweight title at UFC 187, the new champion took aim at Bader during the post-fight press conference. The two had gone back and forth on Twitter and in interviews a few days earlier and Cormier was going to say his piece.

"I'm going to beat the s--- out of him next time," Cormier said. "You keep talking, Bader. Keep talking, keep talking. This guy's so disrespectful, I'm trying to fight Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader is writing me stupid messages on Twitter because he thinks he deserves a title shot. C'mon, Ryan. You can come and fight me, you can get your ass kicked."

Bader was in the back of the room at the time and he came forward to get into Cormier's face at the tail end of those remarks. The whole thing came off as somewhat like a pro-wrestling skit. But Bader told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that it was as real as it gets.

"It wasn't fabricated," Bader said. "It just got me fired up. I've never felt disrespected like that from an opponent before a fight or anything. That's where that was coming from."

Cormier and Bader were supposed to fight each other last weekend at UFC Fight Night in New Orleans. But Cormier was pulled from that main event when Jon Jones was stripped of his title and suspended. Cormier took Jones' place at UFC 187 against Johnson and won the title.

Bader fully expected to get the first title shot against Cormier and Cormier thought so, too. But the UFC changed things up last week when president Dana White said on FOX Sports 1 that Alexander Gustafsson would be getting the next title shot. So Bader's near-press conference skirmish with Cormier was all for naught.

"Did it help?" Bader said. "A little, but in the end it didn't. So we're sitting here without a title fight and Gustafsson got it."

Bader (19-4) was surprised when White told him that he would not be getting Cormier next. Bader has won four straight, while Gustafsson is coming off a knockout loss to Johnson, the man who fell to Cormier by submission last month.

"When I talked to Dana, I kept pleading my case on why I should get it and I just didn't think it made sense," Bader said. "You got a guy coming off a knockout loss to the guy that just got submitted."

Instead, White told Bader that he would likely get Rashad Evans next. Evans is coming off a pair of knee surgeries and will be out until at least September or October. The timeframe is not ideal, but Bader believes a win over someone like Evans will leave the UFC no choice but to put him in there against the Cormier-Gustafsson winner.

At that point, maybe Bader will resurrect his trash talk against Cormier. But now he's focusing on other things.

"I've moved on," he said. "I'm not gonna keep bickering with him if it's for nothing."

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