Ryan Bader to defend Bellator light heavyweight title in April

Ryan Bader
Image: Bellator on Instagram

Bellator champ-champ Ryan Bader will take a break from the heavyweight division as he moves back down to light heavyweight to defend his belt there in April.

Bader himself announced Tuesday on his Instagram that he will be moving back down to 205lbs to defend his light heavyweight title. An opponent, date, or venue were not disclosed by Bader, but he told fans to expect news soon.

Here’s what Bader wrote to his fans on his social media.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7T28X3B6Xk/

“About that time to get back after it! Getting lean and defending the 205 lb light heavyweight title in April. More news soon @bellatormma”

Bellator president Scott Coker recently confirmed that Bader’s next fight would be at 205lbs. The former Ultimate Fighter winner and UFC star signed with Bellator in 2017 and defeated Phil Davis in his first fight in the promotion to become the Bellator light heavyweight champion. He then defended his belt once against Linton Vassell in November 2017 but has fought exclusively as a heavyweight since then.

Bader defeated Muhammad Lawal, Matt Mitrione, and Fedor Emelianenko in 2018 and 2019 to win the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix and the promotion’s vacant heavyweight championship. His first title defense against Cheick Kongo did not go as planned as the fight went to a No Contest due to an eye poke, but Bellator evidently saw enough from Bader before the fight was stopped to not warrant an immediate rematch for Kongo.

It remains to be seen who Bader will fight in his next light heavyweight title defense. One possibility is Vadim Nemkov, who is undefeated over his last six fights and a perfect 4-0 in Bellator. Another option for Bader could be RIZIN champion Jiri Prochazka, who is coming off of a quick knockout win over Bader’s friend and teammate CB Dollaway. Either of those fighters would be worthy opponents for Bader’s next title defense at 205lbs.

Who would you like to see Ryan Bader defend the Bellator light heavyweight title against?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/14/2020.