Bellator champ Vadim Nemkov feels like No. 1 light heavyweight in world, thanks Jon Jones

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – At Bellator 244, Vadim Nemkov became the first Russian fighter to earn a major promotion’s light heavyweight title when he defeated Ryan Bader by second-round TKO.

Minutes after walking out of the cage Friday, Nemkov (13-2 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) spoke to reporters huddled backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena. A protege of Fedor Emelianenko, Nemkov spoke about the importance of becoming the first person to achieve the feat for his homeland.

“When I was training for this fight, I was actually mentally preparing for the historic value of the fight being the first Russian, not to just win, but to fight for a major 205-pound title,” Nemkov told MMA Junkie through an interpreter at the post-event news conference. “I feel like I made history – a small part of history.”

The victory solidified Nemkov’s place, but the Russian champion also thinks it secured his slot as not only the best 205-pound fighter in Bellator – but in the world.

“I feel like with all the changes going on in the 205-pound division and the caliber of opponent I just beat (the guy is a two-time champion in two different weight classes), I feel like I’m No. 1 right now,” Nemkov said. “To back up why I’m saying this, I didn’t just go through five rounds of a fight. I finished a top, top contender in decisive manner in two rounds. I feel like I’m No. 1.”

After the fight, longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who vacated his title earlier this week, took to Twitter to congratulate Nemkov on his victory. Upon hearing of Jones’ compliment, Nemkov graciously accepted the sentiment.

“I just want to thank him,” Nemkov said. “It means a lot to hear, especially from such a legend as Jon Jones.”

Looks like Russia has a light heavyweight champion, congratulations

As for what’s next, Nemkov has his eyes locked on one fight in particular. Although Bellator just signed former UFC contender Corey Anderson, Nemkov said he thinks the winner of the Sept. 11 bout between Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis makes more sense.

“The situation is a little unclear right now,” Nemkov said. “Machida is fighting Phil Davis, so I’d say probably the winner of that fight will be my first title defense. I know Corey Anderson just signed, but I feel like it’d be wrong for him to get a title shot coming over from the UFC. I feel like he should probably have a fight before that. At the end of the day, I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”

Check out Nemkov’s full Bellator 244 post-fight news conference in the video above.

Bellator 244 took place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card simulcasted on Paramount Network and DAZN after prelims on MMA Junkie.


Original Article posted by Nolan King

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