Former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov made a successful return to the Bellator cage on Friday at Bellator 264.
It had been over a year and a half since the Russian had competed for the promotion, an absence necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, he was even granted permission to take a fight outside the organization, picking up a submission win at home.
Despite managing to stay active, “I was nervous, very nervous,” Koreshkov told media outlets including Cageside Press following a decision win over Sabah Homasi at Bellator 264 on Friday. That’s because for two years, “I was only holding, waiting [for] when my visa was open. Right now I’m very happy that I come back, and come back with a good win.”
“Maybe first round, I was a little bit unsure,” Koreshkov admitted when asked if there was any ring rust. But he listened to his coaches, and it paid off, in particular with a flying knee later in the fight. I wasn’t enough to stop Homasi, mind you. “He’s very hard, I dunno. Stone chin.”
Having made a successful return to the promotion he has long called home, the 24-4 Koreshkov must now find his place in the welterweight division — where he feels he remains “one of the top fights.”
“In my opinion, I must fight with somebody for third, second, and first place,” Koreshkov said backstage at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday. “I’m open to anybody. Doesn’t matter. Neiman Gracie, Jason Jackson, Paul Daley, Michael ‘Venom’ Page. Anybody.”
That last name, MVP, is currently booked against Andrey Koreshkov’s old rival, Douglas Lima. “Last time, Doulas Lima knocked out him, and in my opinion, he will repeat this knockout.” Koreshkov will be watching, he added.
Regardless of who, however, Andrey Koreshkov at least knows where he wants to fight next: in October, when Bellator MMA heads to Moscow.
“Right now, it was my 18th fight. 18 fights in this organization. I’m almost a veteran,” he told Cageside Press. “Of course, Bellator makes an event in Russia, I’m very happy. It’s my dream, fighting on this first tournament in Russia.”
Watch the full Bellator 264 post-fight press conference with Andrey Koreshkov above.