Ryan Bader Set to Sign Multi-Fight Deal With Bellator

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

It took a little longer than anticipated, but former UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader is now officially on the Bellator roster.

Bader quickly established himself as a formidable light heavyweight by winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 in 2008 with a run that saw him defeat Tom Lawlor, Kyle Kingsbury and Vinny Magalhaes.

This is the latest in a series of notable signings by Bellator MMA over the previous year. His skull-shattering knockout over Latifi earned "Darth" his first Performance of the Night bonus.

Bader's last loss came against Anthony Johnson where the two fought in the main event of UFC on FOX 18 where Johnson finished Bader by KO in the first round. Prior to this setback, the former Arizona State wrestling All-American had strung together five straight wins inside the Octagon, including decision over former champion Rashad Evans, former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux and current Bellator champion Phil Davis. For a month now, there has been speculation whether Bader would stay in the UFC or jump ship to Bellator.

"[Phil Davis is] the fight I want", Bader told FloCombat. We knew he was going to go to Bellator the entire time. I'm ranked No. 4 in the UFC. "At this point in his career, I think it's the right move for him". We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them click.

Bellator 180 will mark the organization's first pay-per-view event since its pay-per-view debut in May 2014, which was headlined by Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal, at the tail end of the Bjorn Rebney era.