Vadim Nemkov announces move to heavyweight, will likely vacate the Bellator light heavyweight title

By Harry Kettle - August 11, 2023

Vadim Nemkov has confirmed his desire to make the move up to heavyweight following a successful run at 205 pounds.

Vadim Nemkov

For the longest time now, Vadim Nemkov has been the dominant force at light heavyweight in Bellator MMA. He won the title in the summer of 2020, and has held it ever since. In that time, he’s defended it on five occasions, winning four bouts with one being deemed a no contest. Many were wondering what was left for him in the division and as it turns out, the answer is “not a lot”.


In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Nemkov made it known that he intends to move up to heavyweight following the retirement of his mentor Fedor Emelianenko.

“I spoke to Fedor when everything was happening the last couple of fights. We decided I’m moving up to heavyweight,” Nemkov told MMA Junkie on Wednesday through a Russian interpreter. “I’m getting older and every fight is getting harder for me to cut weight. Let’s say that before I felt comfortable when I was training at 103kg (227lbs). Now, I feel even more comfortable at 106-108kg (233-238lbs). When I train right now, it’s 103kg. I feel less strong and dangerous. It’s not the same as I am at 106-108kg.

Nemkov’s big plan

“It’s a new challenge for me. I’ve done everything I can at light heavyweight. Now, it’s a new challenge to go up in weight and get another title. At 205, I don’t see anything new for me. It’s going to be rematches with the fighters I already fought. I’d keep going back to the fighters I already met. … Probably, I will vacate (the title). Yeah, I will vacate the belt and move to the heavyweight division.”

Quotes via MMA Junkie

Will Vadim Nemkov succeed at heavyweight? Let us know your thoughts, BJPENN Nation!


UFC Vadim Nemkov