San Jose, CA — One year on from its start, almost to the day, Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson will close out the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix this Friday.
Their Bellator 277 championship bout has a million dollars in the balance, plus Nemkov’s 205lb title. From the start, he expected to be here, and the Fedor Team fighter had an inkling would Anderson would make it to the final as well.
“When the grand prix started, I knew it would either be Corey Anderson or Ryan Bader,” Nemkov told media outlets including Cageside Press on Wednesday, speaking via translator. “And I expected to be in the final, which is now. I’m ready to get my win on Friday night.”
Despite Nemkov having wins over the likes of Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, many see the match-up with Corey Anderson as the toughest of his career. Nemkov isn’t spending much time thinking about the subject, however. “After the fight, when the fight ends, we’ll see if it was the hardest fight of my career or if it wasn’t,” he said on that front.
As for where the win would leave him in terms of the division as a whole, Nemkov again is taking a wait and see approach. Anderson holds a win over UFC light heavyweight champ Glover Teixeira, and went 1-1 with former UFC 205 pound kingpin Jan Blachowicz.
“I think I’ll be one of the best ones [light heavyweights], but again, playing expectation games is just guesses,” Nemkov said when asked if a win Friday would leave him as the best in the world. “The fight will tell, but I think I will be one of the best light heavyweights in the world after I secure the win.”
There is an intriguing fight on the horizon that has Nemkov’s interest: Gegard Mousasi. “The Dreamcatcher” has suggested he could move to 205lbs to pursue a second title. Nemkov appears down for the challenge.
“If Mousasi wants this fight and Bellator will accept it and the fans want to see it, I will welcome him to the 205 [pound] division, light heavyweight division. It’s definitely the [sort of] fight that I would want to test [myself in] and see.”
Watch the rest of Vadim Nemkov’s media day scrum above. Bellator 277 goes down April 15th in San Jose, CA on Showtime.