Ryan Bader has enjoyed success in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions since joining Bellator MMA in 2017, winning the 205-pound title in his first fight with the promotion before winning gold in the 265-pound division two years later.
But “Darth’s” days as a multi-division fighter are likely over, recently revealing that he will remain in the heavyweight division on the heels of signing a four-fight contract extension with the Viacom-owned promotion.
“I just signed a new four-fight deal with Bellator, and I’m looking to stay at heavyweight,” Bader said during a virtual Bellator 280 presser (via MMA Junkie). “Obviously, this is a career, so financials is a motivation, but competing and still trying to be the best and pushing myself is also there.
“I’m not out there, ‘OK, I’m just gonna be a mediocre guy and take these fights and make money and what not,’” he added. “If I’m gonna do it, I’m still gonna try and be the best at it, and so that’s where my mind frame is right now.”
Bader knows there is a ticking clock on his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, which is the reason he wants to focus on one division and make the most of it while he is still young enough to have success against some of the baddest big men on the planet.
“I don’t think I’m gonna be at 46 years old fighting,” Bader said. “I have other stuff I want to do, but when we talked about this contract, I don’t see myself going down to light heavyweight anymore. That was one thing. I don’t know if I want to put myself through that, that weight cut, and I just didn’t feel great. So for me right now, it’s all right, we’re gonna finish out this deal here and kind of see where we go from there.”
Bader is undefeated in the 265-pound weight class thus far, racking up a 3-0-1 record, collecting his last win against Valentin Moldavsky in his last bout at Bellator 273 in a title unification bout (highlights).
The powerhouse wrestler will attempt to remain unbeaten in the division when he takes on Cheick Kongo this weekend (Fri., May 6, 2022) in the main event of Bellator 280 in Paris, France. It’s a rematch two years in the making with their first fight ending in a “No Contest.”
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