So you've probably noticed that I recently sat down with all four of our finalists for tonight's Ultimate Finale Live at 9 ET/PT. It was a rare chance to get a raw and uncut look at our guys, and the single most profound element I could take away from my time with Ryan Bader is that he's a badass.
Plain and simple, this guy is here to kick ass. I've found that true champions all have certain characteristics in common and Bader has them. He looks at every experience as an opportunity instead of a hassle or hindrance. If a coach wants to come over and eat dinner as a team, some people would find that annoying, not Bader. He looks at it as an opportunity to pick the brain of a legend. Some people on reality shows look at it as a chance to earn stardom through shock value, not Bader. He sees it as a once-in-lifetime chance to train for a few weeks with the best in the business, and nothing else. Some people will look at a lopsided victory over a Jiu Jitsu ace as a time to gloat, not Bader. He takes it as a chance to learn from his mistakes and bring it up a level for his next fight.
These are the marks of the true greats, and it's no surprise that Bader is one of the original 32 that has made it to Palms, on the verge of a six-figure UFC contract.
Check out all the clips from our interview and don't forget to come back later for a live blog of all tonight's action, starting at 6:45 p.m. EST.