Adaptive control methods are widely used for the control of both linear and nonlinear dynamical systems. Among the adaptive control approaches, Model Reference Adaptive Control (MRAC) method has a systematic design feature in which response of a stable reference model is targeted to be followed by the dynamical system. In general, Linear Time Invariant (LTI) Reference Models are considered in the MRAC design and the adaptation rule is formulated accordingly. In this paper, the linear reference model is altered with a stable nonlinear one and the adaptation rule is re-formulated to cope with the nonlinearity. The stable nonlinear reference model is generated by using the State Dependent Riccati Equation (SDRE) approach and the adaptation rule is also updated by using the same SDRE idea. The effects of altering the linear reference model to the nonlinear counterpart are shown in the MRAC formulations. In addition to the new MRAC formulations, the proposed MRAC algorithm is applied to a 3 DoF helicopter test bed to reveal the advantages of the nonlinear reference model.