After signing new four-fight Bellator deal, Ryan Bader looks to ride out career at heavyweight

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Ryan Bader’s light heavyweight days likely are officially behind him.

Bader (29-7 MMA, 7-2 BMMA), Bellator’s former 205-pound champion and current heavyweight champion, wants to remain at heavyweight for the rest of his career.

On the heels of a new contract, Bader defends his title in a rematch against Cheick Kongo (31-11-2 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) in Friday’s Bellator 280 main event at Accor Arena in Paris. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

“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 news conference Wednesday. “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.’ 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.”

Related

Yoel Romero would love to fight Gegard Mousasi – but only if it's for Bellator middleweight title

Cheick Kongo: No bad blood with Ryan Bader ahead of Bellator 280 title rematch

Bader’s opponent, Kongo, will look to become the oldest first-time champion in a major MMA promotion. At 38, Bader is still performing at a high level coming off a five-round title win over Valentin Moldavsky in January, but he isn’t looking to prolong his career as much as Kongo’s.

“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.”

List

Bellator 280 pre-event facts: Can 46-year-old Cheick Kongo make history with title win?