Bellator’s “champ-champ” Ryan Bader revealed to TMZ Sports in a video posted on Sunday that the current heavyweight and light heavyweight champion for the UFC’s biggest rival in the U.S. would love nothing more than facing UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in a cross-promotional megafight.
Jones defeated Bader via second-round submission back in 2011 at UFC 126, but Bader believes the rematch would go differently.
“That’s one fight I’d love to get back,” Bader said per TMZ Sports. “It was 2011 when that happened. I’ve grown and changed so much since then. Physically, mentally. We’d love to be able to do some cross-promotion deal.”
Bader is 27-5 across promotions as an MMA fighter. He’s riding a seven-fight win streak, including two UFC wins and five in Bellator.
But the 36-year-old Bader said he wasn’t interested in returning to the UFC in order to make the potential Jones-Bader 2 fight happen. It also wasn’t something that was keeping him up at night. In fact, Bader said he was super happy to be representing Bellator as one of its top stars, so any kind of Jones vs. Bader superfight rematch would have to be something both companies worked on together.
But Bader for sure remains interested in the fight.
“If we can make some sort of cross-promotion, exhibition, whatever the hell it is, just unify,” Bader said per TMZ Sports.
Bader’s Next Title Defense Doubtful
Bellator’s dual-champion was set to defend his light heavyweight title against Vadim Nemkov in the main event of Bellator 242 on May 9 in San Jose, Calif., but that card seems to be in limbo due to the recent coronavirus outbreak that halted sports action all over the globe.
Regardless, whenever action resumes, don’t expect Bader to jump back over to the UFC anytime soon.
“I’m having an extremely great time in Bellator, and they’ve been really good to me and I want to be good to them,” Bader said per TMZ Sports.
Still, Bader remains hopeful about getting the Jones rematch if it should ever come up as a possibility. That would pit Bader against the fighter he considers to be the best ever MMA competitor ever.
Bader pointed to Jones basically being undefeated as one of the reasons it wasn’t a stretch to say the UFC’s currently ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound male fighter Jones is also the best in history. While there are a handful of other candidates with decent arguments for the nod, almost everyone who follows the sport would likely agree that Jones deserves to be considered No. 1 or very close to it. But Bader’s mind is already made up about the matter.
“Yeah, I don’t think you can argue that he’s not,” Bader said per TMZ Sports. “He’s undefeated. He’s beaten everybody.”
Could Bader beat Jones in the rematch? No, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but it’s at least a fun matchup worth thinking about.
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