Bellator MMA double champion Ryan Bader will be making his first heavyweight title defense at Bellator 226 on September 7 against Cheick Kongo. Initially, Bader did not know if he would be defending his light heavyweight or heavyweight title next. In the end, Bader decided to continue being a company man when it was revealed that they wanted him to defend at heavyweight next (Transcript via MMA Junkie):
“We didn’t know if it was going to be 205 or heavyweight. They wanted the heavyweight belt defended, so here we are,” Bader said in a recent media scrum.
“And from my understanding, after this fight, I’ll go back down and maybe defend the light heavyweight belt twice, defend it once, defend it again, and then go back up, kind of bounce around.”
Bader does not believe alternating title defenses to be a practical or healthy solution for himself, which is why he plans on making his defenses for each division in pairs instead of one at a time:
“I just don’t want to go from one to the other, one to the other. If my body is there at 205, and my weight is down there, I don’t want to have to put more weight on,” Bader said. “I might as well just get two in, get another win in, go back up. When this whole thing started, we got asked to come to the heavyweight tournament.
“My concern was, what’s going to happen to the light heavyweight belt?” Bader continued. “They said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Say you win it, we’re going to keep that for you, we’re not going to do an interim belt or anything like that.’ So, I felt confident being able to go up and doing that.”
How long do you predict Ryan Bader will be able to defend both the Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight championships?