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Coach: Ryan Bader would finish Daniel Cormier inside five rounds

Ryan Bader Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Ryan Bader made Bellator history at the end of January by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko to become the promotion’s first champ-champ. He now holds the Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight belts, which is pretty all right but nowhere near as prestigious as their UFC counterparts. That’s pretty obvious when you consider the accolades Daniel Cormier has received since champ-champing it up at the end of 2018.

Many a glowing op-ed has been written about Bader’s under-appreciated abilities and resume, but when it comes down to brass tacks nobody thinks he’s better than Daniel Cormier ... except maybe Ryan’s head coach Jair Lourenco from Power MMA. Unsurprisingly, he’s stumping for a champ-champ vs. champ-champ fight between Bader and Cormier, and he thinks Bader would prevail to become the first ever champ-champ-champ-champ.

“That’s the fight we wanted,” Lourenco told MMA Fighting. “That’s the fight everybody wanted. It’s an old rivalry, and it would be the first champ-champ vs. champ-champ cross-promotion in MMA history. That only happens in boxing. That’s a fight I wanted to see.”

It may even be a fight Daniel Cormier would like to take. Back in 2015, the two got into an altercation at a press conference with “DC” declaring “They said ‘Daniel, what do you want?’ I said ‘The easiest fight in the division. I want Ryan Bader.’ Just give me my paycheck right now.”

Lourenco disagrees with that assessment.

“Cormier is a great guy, much respect to him, but I see a good match-up for Bader,” he said. “Cormier is an excellent wrestler with a good game on short range, the same game Bader does well. Cormier did more in pure wrestling, but Bader’s wrestling is great for MMA.”

“I believe that a five-round fight would be a great scenario for us. Bader does great in five-round fights, but they both have heavy hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a war, but I believe Bader has a great chance of finishing him inside five rounds.”

Would it ever happen? Hell no. The UFC hasn’t rolled out the cross-promotion carpet since sending Chuck Liddell to PRIDE FC back in 2003. While an anti-trust lawsuit keeps him from saying it, we’re sure Dana White would like to add Bellator to the promotional graveyard, and giving them a platform against Cormier would only help, even if Cormier would smash Bader.

But even bringing up the possibility of Bader and Cormier competing elevates Bader’s status. At the very least it brings him into the conversation, a place few Bellator fighters manage to get. And while we may laugh at the idea of “Darth” defeating “DC,” we’d have a similar reaction with anyone not named “Bones.” Nothing wrong with being third place after those two GOAT contenders, really.

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