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Ryan Bader starting to feel at home in Bellator, and thinks 'King Mo' should be his next test

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Now that he has a couple Bellator title fights under his belt, Ryan Bader says the promotion really is starting to feel like home.

And there might be no better indication of that for the light heavyweight champion than the fact he’s willing to do some work for President Scott Coker and matchmaker Rich Chou and pick his next title defense.

After taking out Linton Vassell (18-6 MMA, 7-3 BMMA) with a second-round TKO on Friday night in the Bellator 186 main event, Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) thinks the next man on his list ought to be former Strikeforce champion Muhammad Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA).

Bellator 186 took place Friday at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

“There’s always ‘King Mo’ out there,” Bader said after his win. “We’d been scheduled to fight before when I first came over. I think he’s deserving – the next in line, really. So I’d probably say him.”

Bader’s finish of Vassell in the Bellator 186 headliner came with him as a heavy favorite in what was just his second fight for the promotion. In his debut in June, he took the 205-pound title from fellow ex-UFC standout Phil Davis with a split decision.

Then he and Lawal were matched up to meet at Bellator 180, but when “King Mo” pulled out with an injury, Bader instead got a title shot against Davis and made the most of it.

He admitted to some first-fight jitters against Davis, but gradually with performances like the one against Vassell, he knows those are going to go away.

“I just feel like this is home,” Bader told MMAjunkie. “You see a lot of UFC guys come over and they don’t do too well, and I don’t know what it is. … I’ve wrestled all over the world. In the UFC, I fought all over the world. Coming over here, never stepping foot in a Bellator cage until 30 seconds right before a title fight, I just follow my routine and I know I’m going to perform. … For me, getting my feet wet, feeling comfortable, it definitely feels like home already.”

For more from Bader, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator 186, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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