Ryan Bader isn’t interested in vacating his heavyweight title.
In the main event of Bellator 256 on Friday night, Bader is set to rematch Lyoto Machida in the opening round of the light heavyweight grand prix. Bader enters the tournament looking to become to reclaim his title he lost last year to Vadim Nemkov.
Although Bader is competing in the grand prix, he’s also the heavyweight champ and depending on how far he goes, it could be well over a year between title defenses. Yet, the American doesn’t care and tells Bellator to create an interim title if they need.
“I’m not giving it up. No. 1, because I fought there,” Bader said at media day (via MMA Junkie). “Bellator came to me and asked me if I wanted to do this tournament. They said I could keep this belt. Maybe an interim belt going (forward)? But that’s up to Tim Johnson. He’s the No. 1 contender. I know we agreed on this fight, and he’s been looking great and (has) three (straight) wins.
“It’s just one of those things. Does he want to fight for an interim belt? Then we can unify it? Or does he want to wait for the actual title shot? That’s always a gamble, too. At the end of the day, I want to be active,” Bader added. “Barring any injuries, if I got out there and win this tournament, I’ll be ready a couple of months after those finals. It’s really kind of up to Bellator and up to him.”
As Ryan Bader mentions, Tim Johnson is the current number one contender and the UFC vet has voiced his frustration about sitting on the sidelines. Johnson earned his title shot with a KO win over Tyrell Fortune, a TKO win over Matt Mitrione, and a decision win over Cheick Kongo.
However, if Johnson is going to sit out, it could be around 14 months if not long between fights. But, perhaps the promotion does end up creating an interim title in Bader’s abscene.
Do you think Ryan Bader should have to vacate the heavyweight belt?