Sioux Falls SD – Bellator middleweight Austin Vanderford is back just 5 months after losing his bid to become middleweight champion. He returns at Bellator 284 against Aaron Jeffrey on Friday night.
Vanderford (11-1) wasted no time getting back in the gym after returning home from Ireland.
“I was back right away I think within a couple weeks. We spent a little bit of time in Ireland to check things out, drink a few Guinesses and what not, and I was already back to work,” Vanderford told Cageside Press among other media on Wednesday.
His opponent Aaron Jeffery took the fight on about 8 days notice after Vanderford’s original opponent, Anthony Adams, withdrew from the fight.
“I was going to fight a mother f*cker no matter what. Whoever was going to step up that’s who I was going to fight. Aaron Jeffery is a really good fighter and I had pictured myself fighting him at some point. Whether it was sooner or later. He might not have a number next to his name, but I believe he beat quite a few guys in the top 10 anyways,” Vanderford said.
“It’s a good opponent. Someone who I’m going to be able to go out and do myself against and I look forward to it Friday.”
Vanderford trains out of the famed American Top Team in Florida with three key Bellator middleweights on the roster, Vanderford, Dalton Rosta and middleweight champion Johnny Eblen. With all three men not only ranked but one holding the title it seems inevitable that the three will collide at some point.
“We got a really good squad. Im really happy to see those guys do well too. It gives you a sense of confidence as well because you’re in there grinding with those guys every day and everyone is working together and helping each other out and stuff. It’s a cool thing you know,” he said.
“I can say proudly that I look forward and I hope that one of my next opponents is Johnny because it means he’s going out and doing his job and defending the belt. I’m doing the same thing I’m winning fights and that’s the matchup that I would want.”
Most fighters refuse to fight a teammate unless the stakes are very high and there’s no way around the bout. Vandeford has his eye on Eblen who holds the Bellator middleweight title.
“Not because I dislike Johnny or anything. I just want us both to do the best that we can, and that was someone that I look forward to.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Austin Vanderford above. Bellator 284 goes down in Sioux Falls, SD on Friday August 12th.