After knocking out Ilir Latifi with a brutal knee to the head at UFC Fight Night 93 on Saturday, Ryan Bader has revealed that he will not be putting any more pressure on himself to win and now simply wants to enjoy the time he spends in the octagon.
Prior to his first round knock-out defeat to Anthony Johnson at the beginning of 2016, Bader had put together five straight wins in the UFC Light Heavyweight division and seemed on track to get a shot at the title. However, Johnson's vicious punch that sent Bader to the canvas put those plans on ice.
In his first fight since that devastating blow, Bader knocked-out Latifi on Saturday with an inch perfect knee to the head. In his short time in the octagon he seemed more relaxed and fluid than ever.
At the UFC Fight Night 93 post-fight presser, Bader admitted that he tried to enjoy himself as he prepared to face Latifi and warned that he would adopt the same approach moving forward.
"I got to this point where I had five wins in a row, and I was always looking for the next thing," Bader told MMAjunkie.
"I had a terrible fight my last fight, and I just let the pressure build up and get to me.
"So my team and I decided, we need to have fun with this. Get back to old school and train and have fun.
"We’re fortunate enough to be here in Germany, in a new place, fighting in front of new fans. So even in the locker room, I felt good and relaxed. And that’s when I fight my best.
"That’s my mindset right now.
"Whoever they give me, not make a big deal about it. When I’m out there, it frees me to take risks and have fun. I fight better. I get too calculated when I’m worried about winning the whole time. That’s just my mindset right now."