Corey Samuels was not even close to a household name prior to Bellator 261.
Following a 10-second knockout of Isaiah Hokit, however, that will likely change, at least among the Bellator faithful. One of the fastest knockouts in promotional history is likely to be a highlight reel replay for years to come.
As for Samuels (3-2), the lightweight just wanted to “let everyone know I’m here,” he told media outlets during Friday’s post-fight press conference.
“Even my amateur career, everyone’s been doubting me. ‘Oh he’s not going to do this’ and all that. I only started taking it really seriously when I went pro,” admitted Samuels. However, once Samuels turned pro in 2018, he began training all aspects of mixed martial arts. That included working with the legendary JZ Cavalcante, he noted.
Ahead of the fight, Samuels admitted to being a little less than calm. “I was up all night just being nervous,” he revealed. “I love to fight, but I hate to fight, you get what I mean? A lot of times, I just wish it was over, and I got my wish apparently. Both my coaches told me ‘let your hands go, you’ve got heavy hands, you can knock people out.’ But I wasn’t— now I’m like, okay. Now I know.”
Isaiah Hokit was a highly touted prospect and training partner of Aaron Pico, making the finish that much more impressive. Samuels, however, wasn’t interested in the pedigree of his opponent’s corner — and he wasn’t surprised to be counted out ahead of the fight. “I’ve always been counted out. I came from nothing, I came from the bottom. I’ve always been counted out. So me personally, I don’t care who you have in your corner.”
Samuels, who was on a one-fight deal with the promotion, is hoping Bellator keeps him around moving forward. And he’s looking to improve from here on out, taking a slow build rather than trying to jump in against a ranked opponent. “Honestly I’m just trying to build myself right now. Once I build myself, then we’ll go from there.”
Watch the full Bellator 261 post-fight press conference with Corey Samuels a.k.a. “Lightning Wolf” above.