Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader talked about opportunities in the promotion after Bellator 186 on Friday — and he’s not against a move up to heavyweight to become a two-division champ.
Ryan Bader had plenty to be happy about on Friday at Penn State in University Park, PA. In the main event of Bellator 186, Bader had pounded out British challenger Linton Vassell to secure his first title defense in the promotion. For Bader, appearing at Penn State was the “icing on the cake” after making his debut and winning the title at Madison Square Garden back in June. And while Bader could be forgiven for basking in the moment, he was more than happy to look ahead.
On who might be next, one name came to mind. “There’s always King Mo out there” Bader suggested. “You know we’ve been scheduled before when I first came over. I think he’s deserving, the next in line really.”
It’s a name that Scott Coker also brought up earlier in the evening, so it seems like an eventual showdown is inevitable.
Beyond another title defense, however, what might lie in the cards for Ryan Bader? For one, the champ was open to a potential move up to heavyweight when asked about the possibility by Cageside Press. Currently, Bellator MMA is without a heavyweight champion, though Scott Coker stated that he hoped to have an update in a week or two on that front.
With Phil Davis stating earlier in the evening that he’d be open to heavyweight bouts, and King Mo acting as a moneyweight and having dabbled in the weight class in the past, it’s a move that isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.
“I came over here to be open to opportunities and have fun and exploit everything I can” Bader said of a possible excursion up in weight. “I’d love to be a two-division champion. I walk around at 230, I feel like I’d be fast, strong for heavyweight, because I’m in here with these 205lb’ers that are fast.”
“Also,” he added, “I’m as strong as a lot of those heavyweights, so I think I’d do well up there.”
While it might not be in the immediate future, Bellator MMA seems a little more open to such moves than Bader’s former home with the UFC, so time will tell.