Dutch middleweight Costello van Steenis returned to action at Bellator 287 on Saturday, locking up a d’arce choke on Poland’s Kamil Oniszczuk in their preliminary card match-up.
The win ended a two-year layoff for van Steenis (14-2), who told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight that he was as hyped up as could be for his return. Which might explain a heated face-off during Friday’s weigh-ins.
“My intention wasn’t to make him push me, but the intention was to make him a little bit nervous, because he’s taller than me,” van Steenis explained regarding the incident. “I was hyped up for this fight because I didn’t fight for two years. I understand why fighters go into a dip after they quit MMA or after they quit any high level sports, because what do we do? We don’t do anything else than training. So I’ve been out of the game for two years fighting-wise, not training-wise. To be more hyped up for this fight? I was hyped up pretty bad.”
Throughout fight week and during the Bellator 287 broadcast itself, the promotion singled out Fabian Edwards for a potential title shot against new champ Johnny Eblen. Eblen won the belt off Gegard Mousasi earlier this year in something of a shock upset.
For van Steenis, who holds a win over Edwards, title talk regarding the Brit isn’t exactly deserved.
“Why should he get a title fight? Why should he get a title fight? He lost two fights, he wins one, and he’s got a fight tonight. Let him see what he’s got, but then he’s got two wins, and then fighting for the title straight after that? Why? That’s weird,” he told Cageside Press.
“First of all, Mousasi should have the title fight again, because his performance was sloppy last time, and that wasn’t even 50% of this guy. Mousasi didn’t even perform 50%, and everybody knows that. And if it’s not Mousasi fighting for the title, I should be in front,” he continued. “What’s my win streak? I don’t know. Well it’s not great either now, but I have six wins in the Bellator [middleweight] division, only one loss. By the way against John Salter, and I’m not finished with this guy. We’re running this back, definitely. He’s going to see me sooner or later. He knows that he didn’t win. He knows he didn’t win this fight. Yeah, he didn’t win the fight, so we should match it up again, but I don’t think he’ll want to. But he has to. Make him. Bellator, make him.”
Fabian would pick up a win over Charlie Leary on Saturday in Milan Italy. But what it comes down to, van Steenis agreed, is capitalizing off Fabian’s brother Leon Edwards winning the UFC welterweight title back in August.
“We all believe so. Don’t we all. If they weren’t brothers, he wouldn’t be in the top five,” van Steenis suggested. “But give him the title shot, I don’t care. We’ll fight sooner or later again. He knows, I know, everybody knows. We’re both young, we’ve still got a long road to go. He’s good, I’m good. Yeah.”
Watch the full Bellator 287 post-fight media appearance by Costello van Steenis above.