Ryan Bader Says Leaving UFC is ‘Kind of Bittersweet’

Ryan Bader
Image Credit: Scott Petersen of MMAWeekly.com

Ryan Bader is happy to be a Bellator fighter, but admits it’s a bit tough to leave his old home.

Earlier today (March 20), it was announced that Bader signed with Bellator. “Darth” had been a free agent after having 20 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner.

Bader hasn’t had an opponent, date, or venue announced yet. When he does step inside the Bellator cage, he’ll compete for the first time outside the UFC since April 2008.

Many have speculated that Bader’s first Bellator bout will be for the light heavyweight championship. While nothing has been made official, “Darth” recently suggested having the match-up at Bellator 180 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 24.

During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com‘s “The MMA Hour,” Bader said he’s glad to be a part of the Bellator roster but he won’t deny having fond memories in the UFC:

“I think it’s one of the better contracts out there, outside of being a UFC champion with pay-per-view points and stuff like that. … Leaving, it’s kind of bittersweet. It’s refreshing, it’s something new heading over to Bellator. But I spent my whole career in the UFC. Looking back, it’s sad, but at the same time it’s refreshing. I’m excited for something new.”