Ryan Bader will be moving back to heavyweight following a second-round TKO loss to Vadim Nemkov in the main event of Bellator 244.
Bellator President Scott Coker believes Bader will defend the heavyweight title next. A rematch against Nemkov at 205-pounds would only come after a heavyweight title defense.
“I think he’ll probably want to go back to heavyweight and fight some heavyweight fights,” Coker said during the Bellator 244 post-fight news conference (via Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “But I do think this: As a fighter, he’s gonna want to come back and avenge his defeat at some point. And so whether we do it at heavyweight or he wants to come back right away, we’ll have him decide, but my guess, and again it’s just speculation, is that he’ll want to move up to heavyweight for a couple of fights, and then he’s gonna want to fight Nemkov again.”
Bader did say he will be back in a post-fight statement on Twitter, but no exact plans were revealed by the fighter at that time. Coker says some upcoming heavyweight fights in October could determine who Bader defends the heavyweight title against.
“We have a couple of heavyweight fights in early October,” Coker said. “We haven’t announced these fights, so I really don’t want to talk about it, but we do have some fights coming up. We’re gonna have some heavyweights, and we’ll take it from there, but because of the stoppage, Ryan’s going to be on suspension for probably 90 days or whatever the commission puts on him, and then we’ll decide what we want to do.”
The heavyweight champion has not defended that title since fighting Cheick Kongo to a no contest at Bellator 226.