Since joining Bellator in 2016, Ryan Bader has put together one of the promotion’s most impressive winning streaks. He has picked up five wins (with one no contest) and claimed the promotion’s light heavyweight and heavyweight championships in the process.
With his success, it only makes sense that Bader would be featured on the CBS Sports Network series “Bellator MMA: Recharged.” For Bader is another opportunity for people to experience his run to holding two titles simultaneously, which has only been matched by one other fighter in Bellator, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
“That whole (heavyweight) tournament I had some really exciting quick knockouts and great match-ups, so (it’s great) for fans go back and see it, and gain new fans and new supporters,” Bader told MMAWeekly.com. “In a time for when people are craving sports and something different to watch and getting a little stir crazy, I think it’s phenomenal.”
For Bader, his road to winning Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix marks a career highlight, and he doesn’t think fans can go wrong wanting to see the wins he picked up in it.
“You can’t get much better than that Fedor (Emelianenko) fight,” said Bader. “I go out there and knock King Mo (Lawal) out in 15 seconds, beat a tough Matt Mitrione, then knockout Fedor in 30 seconds. I think it’s definitely a display of skills, and for me it was doing something new.
“As a light heavyweight going up and trying to stand at heavyweight not one fight, but a whole tournament… I had no idea how I was going to fare at heavyweight. I thought I was going to do well, but let’s see how it was going to go against the bigger heavyweights like Mitrione.”
Since lockdown has been enacted, Bader has been working in closed-door sessions with other trusted fighters in an effort to stay in the best possible condition for when he’s given the green light to return to fighting.
“We have a gym where it’s not open to the public,” Bader said. “It’s basically a place where the pro fighters come to train.
“When this all came down I kind of told everybody to stay out. We had two or three guys around my weight, the guys I train with, we had them tested for antibodies and COVID, and everything was good, and we kind of continued on with them.”
Being a two-division champion, Bader knows he could be extremely busy when fights do resume, and that’s fine with him. As long as he’s able to, Bader will fight as often as he can.
“At the end of the day, I think they’ll start back up at the end of June or early July and bang out a bunch of fights, so it’s not the end of the world,” said Bader. “Maybe this time I can fight at the end of June then turn around and fight in July or August. I would love to go in there, have a fight, barring I’m healthy jump right back in a couple of weeks. That would be optimal.
“I kind of always think things work out. I’m not too stressed about it. I’m going to continue to do my thing and prepare myself best I can and be ready when the time comes.”
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