Scott Coker has announced that Bellator has some big plans for 2023.
Last weekend, Bellator lightweight stars Benson Henderson and Peter Queally faced off in Dublin. The former UFC champion wound up picking up the victory by decision. This weekend, Bellator 286 features former champion A.J. McKee taking on Spike Carlyle.
The focus on the 155-pound fighters is just beginning it seems. Earlier today, Scott Coker went on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss their plans for 2023. It seems that they’re going back to the well, and will be holding another yearlong Grand Prix.
The promotion is no stranger to the concept. Later this year, fans will see the conclusion of the light-heavyweight tournament, as champion Vadim Nemkov will face Corey Anderson. The promotion currently has a bantamweight Grand Prix going on as well.
It seems that the focus will now be shifting to the lightweights. During the interview, the Bellator president stated that next year will feature a 155-pound tournament. Discussing the tournament, Coker opined that their lightweight division is the best it has ever been.
The promoter didn’t reveal any names that will absolutely be in the tournament. However, he praised names such as champion Patricky Pitbull, Benson Henderson, and A.J. McKee as possible competitors.
“If you look at our roster, I think this is the best roster I’ve ever had at Bellator, and it’s taken us about four or five years to get here,” Coker said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids I’m super high on, and we’ve got a lot of good veterans, but if you look at our 155-pound weight class, with [Tofiq] Musayev, and Usman Nurmagomedov, and [Patricky] Pitbull, and Benson Henderson — who is coming off a great win over Peter Queally — I think going into next year, one of the things these guys need to consider is that probably will be our 155-pound tournament next year.” (h/t MMAFighting)
He continued“…We’re going to get it on and it’s going to be amazing. I’m telling you, when I saw Musayev fight in Japan in ‘19, and he beat Patricky, I was like, ‘This kid is really good.’ Then we got the opportunity to sign him and Usman. Javier [Mendez, American Kickboxing Academy coach] told me Usman’s going to win the tournament and Javier rarely steers me wrong. But these kids are going to have their hands full.”