Bellator MMA is getting ready to throw down an epic tournament grand prix that will decide the next champion of the promotion’s heavyweight division. The tournament is stacked with huge names withing the mixed martial arts world, with Fedor Emelianenko, Frank Mir, Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Ryan Bader, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Muhammad Lawal and Chael Sonnen all competing in the grand prix.
Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader recently offered his thoughts on facing off in the tournament with a chance to come out as a two title wielding champion. Speaking to MMA Junkie Radio, Bader explained that he is quite happy with the situation.
“I’m totally happy with my decision. Go out, win the belt, defend it, and then get offered to go in a heavyweight tournament? It doesn’t get, really, much better than that. I came over here for those unique opportunities, you know. And they brought it up to me – I didn’t have to go searching for (them).
“When I first met with them, they were like, ‘Would you be willing to fight in Japan? Would you be willing to go to heavyweight?’ I said yes to all of that. ‘Give me those opportunities.’ So when it presented itself to be in this tournament, we said, ‘Hell yeah, why not? Let’s do it.’”
The tournament is set to feature some aging fighters, as MMA veterans such as Fedor Emelianenko and Quinton Jackson are getting up in years concerning their careers. That in mind, Bader is not too worried about his competition.
“I can make the case for fighting anyone of those guys would be awesome. It’s one of those stacked tournaments where you look at one paper and you’re like, ‘Man, there’s some big names in here. Big guys.’ But there’s not a guy in there that I’m like, ‘Oh man, he may be too big.’ Or (that) I’m concerned about. I’m going in there to win that thing. So it really doesn’t matter to me.
“It’s kind of breaking it down like I used to do it in the old wrestling days, when you’re going to a national tournament and there’s 64 men in your bracket. You look at it and it’s pretty daunting, but you just go out there and you wrestle one match at a time.
“Same with fighting: You go out there, fight your fight. You win three in a row and you’re the heavyweight champion.”