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Report: Bellator MMA set to offer free agent Ryan Bader contract next week

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Last year proved to be a good year for mixed martial arts (MMA) free agents like Rory MacDonaldBenson Henderson and Matt Mitrione, as the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) standouts all signed with front line competitor Bellator MMA. Well, it now appears as if Bellator is on the hunt again in early 2017, as Josh Gross reports that the promotion is set to offer light heavyweight free agent Ryan Bader a contract next week.

Bader, 33, has been a staple in the UFC light heavyweight division since winning season eight of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2008. While "Darth" has ultimately come up short when it comes to locking down a title shot, the wrestler has knocked off some of the more famous 205-pound fighters in the world, including Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Rashad Evans and current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis.

As arguably the weakest division under UFC control, the light heavyweight division would surely miss Bader (especially with this guy out of service) if Bellator was able to swoop in with an offer that can't be refused. A rematch with Davis for the Bellator light heavyweight title would be an immediate option for Bader with the potential to make more money, have freedom over sponsorship and shed his growing gatekeeper status in UFC.

Stick with Mania as more information regarding an official contract offer is revealed.

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