Tomorrow night, in the main event of the exciting Bellator 186 card, Bellator light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader will attempt to defend his title opposite the dangerous Linton Vassell. While this test is at the forefront of the champ’s mind, he’s also interested in partaking in a much-discussed Bellator heavyweight title tournament.
“I would definitely like to throw my hat in the ring with that and see where it goes,” Bader told MMAjunkie. “That’s one thing that intrigued me about coming to Bellator was those different opportunities.”
“First and foremost, I’m the light heavyweight champion, and I need to defend that belt,” he continued. “That’s happening on Friday, and from there, we’ll see what transpires.”
“I would love to be in that tournament and fight a couple of fights quickly, and if there is a belt at the end of that, that would be awesome to be a two-division champ and come back and defend my light heavyweight title,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you’re looking in the future a little bit. I’ve got to go out and win this fight, and really just see what’s next with them. But I’m open to all that.”
While nothing is official just yet, Bellator president Scott Coker has recently discussed a possible heavyweight tournament.
“I think that we’ll probably crown a new champion first quarter of next year and then we’ll start having a lot more fights in the heavyweight division,” Coker said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “We’ve got some great heavyweights now, there’s a lot of matchups that I can’t wait to see and I’m excited about 2018. I think 2018 is going to be a very busy year, a big growth year for Bellator, and the heavyweight division will be a big part of it.”
How do you think Ryan Bader would fair against monsters like Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Cheick Kongo and Fedor Emelianenko?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/11/2017.