No surprise here: Ryan Bader is officially bound for Bellator MMA.
Monday, Bellator President Scott Coker confirmed to MMAJunkie.com that the perennial standout light heavyweight had signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 33-year-old Bader last fought in November, stepping in for an injured Alexander Gustafsson to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, whom Bader had previously bested via unanimous decision at UFC 119 in September 2010. In their second encounter, Bader pulverized “Minotoro,” stopping him with strikes on the ground in the third round. It was the final fight on Bader's Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.
Despite his “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 victory and compiling a 15-5 mark in the Octagon, Bader never earned a crack at the UFC light heavyweight title. When he entered free agency, UFC President Dana White was clear that he didn't expect that to change.
“We had told Ryan Bader he was good to go,” White said in early February. “We knew he was going to go to Bellator the entire time. I think Bellator is a good place for Ryan Bader. At this point in his career, I think it’s the right move for him.”
Bader has won seven of his last eight bouts dating back to December 2013. His lone loss in that span is to UFC title challenger Anthony Johnson, who knocked him out in 86 seconds in January of last year.
No date or opponent has been set for the former Arizona State University wrestler's Bellator debut.