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Scott Coker open to sending Bellator champion Ryan Bader to Rizin to pursue third world title

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ryan Bader may not be satisfied with two Bellator belts.

The two-division champion has expressed interest in winning a third world title, taking on the reigning Rizin light-heavyweight champion in Japan.

In recent months, Bader has been focused on winning and defending the Bellator heavyweight title. Meanwhile, Rizin champ Jiří Procházka has fixed his sights on Bader as a potential future opponent.

Ahead of his most recent Bellatorfight against Cheick Kongo, Bader said his plan was to return to 205 pounds for his next couple of contests. After more than a year competing at heavyweight, he sought to build on his light heavyweight resume.

Now, a third world title has Bader’s attention, and Bellator president Scott Coker also appears to be on board with the idea.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” Coker told MMA Fighting. “We have a good relationship with Rizin, and if the timing is right, and he wants to go for that belt, and they want to do it, then we’d do it.”

Bellator and Rizin have become frequent collaborators in recent months.

Bellator sent former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell to Japan to challenge Kyoji Horiguchi for a Rizin title. When he came up short, Bellator then brought Horiguchi over to the United States, where he defeated Caldwell for a second time to become the Bellator bantamweight champion.

Meanwhile, Patricky “Pitbull” Freire is set to participate in the Rizin Lightweight Grand Prix. More athletes have expressed interest in potentially traveling to Japan to fight in the organization as well.

While nothing has been inked yet, Bader previously expressed interest in Rizin’s massive year-end card that takes place during New Year’s eve in Japan.

“I’d love to go back down (in weight) and go after the Rizin title at 205,” Bader told MMA Fighting in early September. “Get my feet wet there with the guys in October, and then turn around and fight in December.”

Now it’s just up to Bellator and Rizin to determine how much they want that fight to happen.