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Ryan Bader plans Cheick Kongo rematch, but only after he defends light heavyweight title

Ryan Bader is planning on running things back with Cheick Kongo, but not before defending his light heavyweight title first.

In his most recent outing, Bellator dual champ Bader (27-5 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) put his heavyweight title on the line against Kongo (30-10-2 MMA, 12-2 BMMA) in a fight that was ruled a no contest due to an accidental eye poke by Bader.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Kongo went off on the champion, claiming Bader intentionally poked him in the eye because he was starting to tire out, staking his claim for a rematch.

Bader was scheduled to defend his light heavyweight title for the first time since 2017 against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 242 before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event.

And while he still has intentions of defending his 205-pound title next, he’s keen to rematch Kongo to prove that he is the better fighter.

“For me, my plan is to, next fight, go out and defend the light heavyweight title. And then I’ll give Kongo a rematch right away at heavyweight,” Bader told MMA Junkie. “That goes back to Bellator – maybe they don’t want him back in there, but I want him. I want to go out there and prove that it was only a matter of time. It was very one-sided, anyways, and so I want to go in there and prove to everybody that that’s how it was gonna go.”

Bellator are targeting a return in summer, and Bader is ready to go. But Bader is unsure if Nemkov will still be his opponent, considering the travel ban restrictions in most countries across the globe.

So he has no issues moving onto another opponent if necessary.

“Obviously you want to know what opponent because I was fighting the Russian. Is that happening? We don’t know,” Bader said. “Can he get in the States, international travel, does he have to be quarantined, all that kind of stuff – so I don’t want to deal with that, having another thing on my plate, worrying if an opponent can get in. And so if we have to fight somebody else or whatever it is, I want to fight.

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