Image Credit: Dave Mandel/

Bellator president Scott Coker sees a clear path for the promotion’s heavyweight division.

Many have wondered what’s next for two-division champion Ryan Bader. “Darth” holds the Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight gold. If things go according to plan, Bader will defend his heavyweight title against Cheick Kongo next.

Bader vs. Kongo Planned

Coker spoke to ESPN and he revealed that Bader vs. Kongo is planned with Josh Barnett getting dibs on the winner (via

“Ryan will stay at heavyweight for his next fight and he will fight the No. 1 contender that is Cheick Kongo. That fight will probably happen in the fall, or late summertime something like August or September. That fight will happen and then Josh will probably fight the winner of the two.”

Bader captured the light heavyweight title with a split decision victory over Phil Davis back in June 2017. “Darth” went on to capture the heavyweight gold when he knocked out Fedor Emelianenko in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix.

Kongo has been on a roll as of late. He’s riding an eight-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a loss since Feb. 2015. As far as Barnett goes, he’s the latest addition to the Bellator roster one year after being granted his UFC release.

Do you think giving Josh Barnett the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Cheick Kongo is the way to go, or should Barnett have at least one fight inside the Bellator cage before getting a title shot?


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