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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
"I did pick up the phone and call Dana [White] and just asked him, like I said, plead my case and gave him what I thought and told him that if there was any reservations about [my] fighting style or anything, that I'm gonna go out there and try to take that belt and try to finish the guy in front of me and all that kind of stuff, and he just said that they were going with Gustafsson and if I get through Rashad [Evans] he doesn't really see being able to deny me not getting a title shot. So that's where it stood and I tried to have him reconsider, but their mind was pretty much set on that. So just moving forward it's Rashad. That's it. The past is the past. I'll catch up to those guys later, hopefully after this fight.
... Absolutely [Evans is slowing down in his career]. You know everybody does at that point. And then coming off two ACL surgeries back to back and try to rehabilitate, and then not only that, get your body back into the mode of training the whole time. Honestly, I'm surprised if he shows up. 'Cause your body, if you're not training for two years your body isn't used to that, the rigors of a training camp and what you have to put it through to be in peak physical condition. Yeah you can skate by and do just enough and show up to the fight pretty much unprepared but you made it. So we'll see how that happens. Two ACL surgeries in a row, it's no joke, especially at his age. So that, coupled with the whole deal of ring rust, and like I said, we're at two different points right now. I'm right there and I want it. I haven't had my shot yet. So that's why I have a one-track mind to get that."
-Ryan Bader talks to Submission Radio about getting passed up for a title fight and why he's not convinced Rashad Evans will show up at UFC 192.
Penick's Analysis: Given Evans has had to pull out of a couple of different matchups over the last two years, it's reasonable to question whether or not he shows up at this point. As for Bader's title prospects, he's stuck in a spot where all he can do is keep winning. If he can do that, eventually he'll be the only reasonable option to make. Of course, that seemed to be the case this time and they went with the unreasonable option in Gustafsson instead, so who knows if he'll ever get that opportunity. He's right that he needs to concentrate on Evans and beating everyone else put in front of him, and from there he needs to rely on hope.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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