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KSW champion Philip De Fries ‘interested’ in challenging Bellator champion Ryan Bader

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KSW heavyweight champion Philip De Fries will attempt to take another step toward clearing out his division when he faces replacement assignment and fellow UFC veteran Luis Henrique in the main event of KSW 50 in London on Saturday.

There have been whispers about KSW and Bellator combining their rosters for cross promotional bouts recently, and if all should go according to plan for De Fries this weekend, he underlined how he would be open to challenging Bellator’s heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader.

“I would 100 percent be interested in that,” De Fries told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“There are a lot of cogs with what Bellator are doing, they’re doing champion versus champion fights, so they’d probably have to get Bader to challenge for the KSW belt and then have me challenge for the [Bellator] belt straight after it. I don’t know the logistics of it, but I definitely would be up for a cross-promotion fight.”

Matt Mitrione called me out, he said he’d like to fight me again a few weeks ago, before he got beat by [Sergei] Kharitonov, but I’d definitely, definitely be interested in cross promotional fights,” he added.

Although he fought Mitrione in his UFC days, years before he battled his crippling anxiety issues, De Fries believes his heavyweight peers understand that he’s a very different commodity from when he competed in the Octagon.

“Years ago in the gym I was fighting people like that and I was performing fantastically. I knew it was in me, but I’m definitely on a roll now,” said De Fries.

“My ranking has increased dramatically. I used to hate [fighting], you could tell. I never used to like it. Honestly, I don’t know why I did it — maybe it was peer pressure or something. My ranking dictated my attitude then.”

Knowing that he will have to get through Henrique before he can cast his eyes to Bellator’s heavyweight bracket, the champion gave his take on how the fight will play out.

“I think I’m a lot heavier than I was for my last fight. I really took care of my nutrition better than I did for my last camp. I don’t think [Henrique] likes fighting too much, he’s always in a rush to get grappling. I also think I’m a better grappler than him and I think I’m conditioned better than him. He’s definitely a good fighter, he’s not to slept on, but I think I’ll definitely get the job done within the distance.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Philip De Fries interview begins at 17:00.