San Jose, CA – Bellator heavyweight Linton Vassell seems to be wanting to start a revenge tour and it begins with the rematch against Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 292 on Friday night.
“It’s something that I’ve been wanting for a while. I’m glad I’ve actually got what I wished for,” Vassell told reporters on Wednesday.
After two consecutive losses at light heavyweight, then a loss in his first heavyweight bout left Vassell wondering if he still had what it took to be a professional MMA fighter.
“It was rough. I don’t like to lose and I’ve never lost two in a row, let alone three, so I was contemplating whether to retire. Spoke to my coaches. They said nah it’s not to retire yet. You’ve still got some time in you,” he said.
“Ended up going back, changing a few things, then I got the fight with Sergei Kharitonov. I had nothing to lose for that fight. I went in there with everything I had. Got the win. Then that changed everything around.”
A loss in that fight however may have spelled the end for Vassell as a professional fighter.
“If I did lose that fight then yeah. I wouldn’t be here right now. I think i’d be like yes let’s do something different.”
Now the rematch with Moldavsky is at hand and Vassell has made sure to go back and correct the mistakes he made in his first Bellator fight at heavyweight in 2019.
“I work on a lot more of the stuff that went wrong, you know? The stuff that went wrong, you fix on that, and it’s continued from that pretty much. I felt like the things I did wrong, I’m not going to mention them, you’re better off correcting them straight away,” Vassell told Cageside Press a couple of weeks before media day.
“So five years ago pretty much I knew the stuff I did wrong and I corrected it. And I think that shows on how I won my last four fights. Having this rematch man the fire gets lit and it’s burning hard because I don’t like to lose.”
Retirement after losing is a tough decision to make, but it’s clear Vassell was thinking about it after three consecutive losses.
“After obviously losing them three in a row I had to sort something out. I was even contemplating on retiring. Once I spoke to the coaches they were like ‘Don’t be so stupid. We all lose and you’ll be back. You’ve got plenty of time.’,” he said.
“After losing that fight with Moldavsky I was like f*ck man I lost again, what’s going on? Even (Mindset) Mike was like, (Don’t retire) no we can build on this. And I feel like it showed.”
Heavyweight seems to have been the move for Vassell to get his career back on track and it’s showed tremendously.
“The weight cut was so brutal. Ended up just draining me so much. I was walking around about 235 and trying to cut down to 230 there’s nothing really to go. Always felt great leading up to the fight and then cutting the weight I felt like I was dying, about to die,” said Vassell.
“I felt good fight day, but it’s not the right weight. I’m glad I found heavyweight. It’s the right class for me.”
Watch Cageside Press’s interview with Linton Vassell above, media day scrum available on our YouTube channel. Vassell takes on Valentin Moldavsky in the rematch at Bellator 292 on Friday night in San Jose, CA.