Bellator president Scott Coker says that Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader will defend both of his belts in 2020.
Bader is coming off of a No Contest against Cheick Kongo in his first Bellator heavyweight title defense. He spent all of 2019 up at heavyweight, and hasn’t fought at light heavyweight since November 2017. But he plans on moving back down a weight class for his next fight, according to Coker.
Here’s what the Bellator president said in a media scrum before Bellator Japan.
“Ryan, my understanding is he wants to fight sometime in March, and he’s going to defend his 205lbs belt, that’s what he wants to do so we’re going to do that. We’ll hopefully have a location and opponent and all the details to announce sometime early in January,” Coker said.
Bader was rumored to fight RIZIN champ Jiri Prochazka on the Bellator Japan card but the bout never ended up materializing. Instead, Bader seems destined to fight one of Bellator’s top light heavyweight contenders such as Vadim Nemkov, who is riding a six-fight win streak with victories over former Bellator champs Phil Davis, Liam McGeary and Rafael Carvalho.
According to Coker, Bader will start off the new year as a light heavyweight but Bellator plans on having him fight up to four times so he will be moving up and down weight classes often.
“Yeah, he’s going to defend both belts until he loses one. That’s just how it’s going to be. But we have a lot of guys to give him some good competition, so I think that him coming down to 205 to start it off, then I want to keep him busy next year, I’d like to have him fight at least three times, maybe four times next year,” Coker said.
Who do you think Ryan Bader should fight in his next light heavyweight title defense?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/27/2019.