Bellator bolsters roster again with addition of light heavyweight Ryan Bader
Former UFC contender inks multi-fight deal, calls for rematch with Bellator champion Phil Davis
Bellator MMAâs run of big-name free agent signings continued on Monday with the signing of veteran light heavyweight Ryan Bader.
CEO Scott Coker broke the news to MMAJunkie.com. Bader, 33, who formally announced his signing with Bellator during an appearance on the MMA Hour, later posted a video on his Twitter account.
âIâm a Bellator MMA fighter right now. Iâm super excited,â Bader said. âI feel like Iâm in the best physical and mental shape in my career. Iâm coming in there to wreck shop.â
Bader (22-5), made his UFC debut in 2008 and never fell too far from the 205-pound title picture over the next eight years. The former collegiate wrestler at Arizona State closed out his UFC deal with a TKO victory against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in their November rematch.
While Bader doesnât have a date set for his promotional debut, he called out Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis on Monday. Bader was the last man to defeat Davis when he claimed a split decision in January 2015.
âPhil Davis, step up,â Bader said. âLetâs fight in June. Iâm coming for that belt. Letâs do it.â
Baderâs mention of June was a reference to another headline Bellator made on Monday when it announced a pay-per-view card for June 24 at New Yorkâs Madison Square Garden.
Bader also owns victories over the likes of Quinton âRampageâ Jackson, Rashad Evans and Ovince Saint Preux. His only defeats came against top-level competition: Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Lyoto Machida, Glover Teixeira and Anthony Johnson.
The UFC waived its matching rights to Bader last week, providing him with his release.
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