Ryan DuWayne Bader (born June 7, 1983) is an American mixed martial artist. He is the current champion in both the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight divisions of Bellator MMA. Prior to signing with Bellator, Bader competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the Light Heavyweight division. There, Bader achieved success as a top 5 Light Heavyweight contender and he compiled a UFC record of 15-5. He was a cast member and winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir. He is currently ranked the #2 Light Heavyweight and the #7 pound for pound fighter in the world by MMAjunkie.com. He is the first fighter to hold belts in two divisions simultaneously in Bellator history. His nickname is Darth Bader, which refers to Star Wars antagonist character Darth Vader.
Ryan Bader was born in Reno, Nevada and started wrestling at the age of seven. He entered mixed martial arts after a successful career in amateur wrestling. He attended Robert McQueen High School where he won two state championships and was ranked as high as fourth in the country for wrestling. In football, Bader was the 2001 Nevada Defensive Player of the Year and the McQueen Lancers win the Nevada state championship title. Bader ultimately attended Arizona State University on a wrestling scholarship, where he was college teammates with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and CB Dollaway. While attending ASU, Bader was a three-time Pac-10 Champion, winning titles in 2003, 2004, and 2006. He was also a two-time All-American, placing fourth in 2004 as a sophomore and seventh in 2006 as a senior. He began training at Arizona Combat Sports in early 2007.