Ryan Bader may have to vacate his Bellator heavyweight crown.
Bader was previously a simultaneous two-weight champion for the promotion having also held at the light heavyweight strap.
That was until he was brutally finished by Vadim Nemkov in August in a second-round TKO finish. Bader was initially planning on bouncing back with a defense of his heavyweight title.
However, it now appears he is eager to run things back with Nemkov.
“We were definitely heading in that direction, then I got a call recently from his management saying that he would like to consider fighting Nemkov again,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “So to me, we haven’t flushed it out, but I think there is a desire for a rematch for that fight.
“If it happens, I’m not sure, but we’re definitely going to have a conversation with him about it because we were all about him getting into the heavyweight division and defending his belt, but that could change in the next couple of weeks.”
If Bader were to fight Nemkov again, that would further hold up the heavyweight division which has not seen a title fight since Bader’s no contest with Cheick Kongo back in September 2019.
That means it’s very likely he would have to vacate the heavyweight title in such a scenario.
“I think he might have to make a decision at that point, but we’ll talk it through because he’s our champ, but we also want to let the belt continue on,” Coker said. “If you really want to fight Nemkov, we have to have a conversation at some point.
“I think his management told us he’s basically very excited about these new signings and he’d love to fight these guys. Fight Nemkov, get his belt back. He’d also like to fight the other guys we just signed, whether it’s Yoel (Romero) or ‘Rumble’ (Johnson), but he’s ready to go. Ryan Bader’s afraid of nobody, believe me. This guy is a killer, too.”
Given how exciting things are in Bellator’s light heavyweight division as of now, one can’t blame Bader either.
Do you think Bader should vacate his heavyweight crown?