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Scott Coker: Expect the Bellator roster to ‘really blossom’ in the next year

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Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker has high expectations for his company in the coming year.

MMA Press Conference Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

In terms of talent level, it can be said that Bellator MMA is still in the shadows of its more prominent counterpart that is the UFC. But over the past few years, the company has acquired some big names of its own and has put on some notable fights.

In fact, the two major US promotions went head-to-head on Saturday night, with Bellator 199 taking place in San Jose, California as UFC 224 took place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Bellator also featured highlight reel finishes, including a spectacular body shot knockout scored by Aaron Pico over Lee Morrison.

For Coker, 2019 would be the year when he expects Bellator’s roster to come in full bloom and stand out.

“The roster looks a lot different than it was three years ago,” Coker told MMAjunkie before Bellator 199. “I think that we put on some great fights in the last three years, but in the last 18 months… Rory MacDonald’s fight with Douglas Lima was one of my favorite fights of all-time in this company.

“We’ve had just had so many great fights, I think in the last 18 months, and it’s just gonna continue on.

“If you look at the roster now, it’s something I’m very proud of,” Coker continued. “But, give us another 18 months – not 18 months. Maybe another year, that’s when you’ll see Aaron Pico really flourish out. A.J. McKee, James Gallagher, the Fortunes (Tyrell and Tyree).

“These are the future of the company, and I think you’re gonna see them really blossom in the next year.”

The company’s next event would be Bellator 200, which takes place on May 25th at the SSE Arena in London. It will feature a middleweight title fight between Rafael Carvalho and former UFC 185-pound contender Gegard Mousasi, as well as a heavyweight Grand Prix fight between Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop.