Ryan Bader joined Daniel Cormier last night by becoming a champ-champ, and “Darth” would be down for a cross-promotional showdown with his former rival.
The light-heavyweight champ added Bellator’s heavyweight title to his resume on Saturday, by quickly knocking out Fedor Emelianenko. Bader faced the legendary fighter in the finals of Bellator’s heavyweight grand-prix.
The fight marked the fifth time Bader has fought under the Bellator banner after he exited from the UFC via free agency in 2016. So, since Bader feuded with Cormier before he left for Bellator, the champion was asked about his rivalry with “DC” during last night’s post-fight presser. Here’s what the powerful wrestler had to say (quote via MMA Fighting):
“I’m over that,” Bader said about Cormier, who recently vacated the UFC’s 205 title but still holds the promotion’s heavyweight belt. “But he’s one of those guys, he proves himself over and over again. He’s a champ, in and out of the cage there, beating monsters. Nothing but respect from over here. It’d be fun to do a cross-promotion for the champ champ champ champ, but we’ll see if that ever happens.”
Yup. A lot of folks would like to see that fight, but we all know the chances of it happening as a cross-promotion are zero. What is interesting, however, is that Bader reportedly only has one fight left on his current deal with Bellator. So, will Bader sign an extension with the promotion? Or fight out the contract and test the free agency waters? Although, championship clauses could be a hurdle in that respect.
And when asked about what’s behind his recent historic run, Bader said this:
“In my past, I’ve always had the physical abilities. They were always there, but sometimes the mental side of it — I was younger coming in as a wrestler, didn’t know what the hell I was doing on my feet. I literally didn’t know what I was doing on my feet until was I fighting Rashad [Evans in 2015], and I got a jab and was like, ‘Oh, it’s so much nicer being able to not freak out.’ So, the people around me, the coaches and people I have around me right now, we’re just in a good groove, we mesh really well, and it’s fun for me.”
All this aside, if Bader goes on to defend both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight titles, his case for being one of the planet’s best pound-for-pound fighters will be that much stronger.
Bellator 214 was hosted by the Forum in Inglewood, California.