Bellator champ Ryan Bader would love to fight Francis Ngannou: ‘If he does come to MMA, I’m the guy with the belt’

If Francis Ngannou finds a new home in MMA, Ryan Bader says he’s the guy to fight.

Ngannou parted ways with the UFC after he, according to president Dana White, turned down a deal to become the highest paid heavyweight in the promotion’s history.

The former UFC heavyweight champion hopes to fulfill his long-desired dream to box, but if he doesn’t get to do that next, Bellator heavyweight champ Bader (31-7 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) is happy to defend his title against him.

“If he turned that down with the UFC and all that, I think he’s going to box,” Bader told The Schmo. “You know, a lot of these guys get away from MMA, but they don’t have Tyson Fury calling them out, and he does. Bellator, we’d love to have him. (I) would love to fight him. So it’s one of those things. We’ll see where he goes. Do I think he goes back into MMA? I don’t know. I really think he’s going to box. But if he does come to MMA, I’m the guy with the belt and we’ll be fighting.”

Bader notched his third title defense when he scored another first-round TKO of retiring legend Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 290 this past Saturday. Ngannou hasn’t fought in more than a year. He bounced Ciryl Gane out of the ranks of the unbeaten for his first title defense in January 2022. Ngannou underwent knee surgery after the fight and is gearing up for a return sometime this year, though he remains a free agent.

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