Canadian middleweight Aaron Jeffery returns to action this Friday at Bellator 298 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with some newfound motivation after coming up short against John Salter last time out.
Jeffery (13-4) had back-to-back wins to start his Bellator MMA career, but was on the losing end of a decision opposite Salter that he admits “lit a fire under me a bit or something.”
While there are always areas a fighter can shore up even coming off wins, Jeffery told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview, having “just kind of sh*t the bed,” the Tillsonburg, Ontario native is “just very confident that I’m never going to let that happen again.”
Jeffery wasn’t surprised to see former title challenger Salter retire following their March match-up, though how that retirement came about wasn’t expected. “I thought I was going to retire him in a very different way. I didn’t think he was going to lay on top of me for 15 minutes and then retire, I thought I was going to kick his ass and then he would retire. But I knew he was coming up on the end of his career; good on him that he goes out with a win.”
Now it’s on to Dalton Rosta, a solidly built physical specimen who is currently ranked #4 in the weight class. “I think he’s going to come out hard,” noted Jeffery. “He’s a big dude, imposing figure, he’s confident for sure, he’s undefeated and I think he’s going to come out hard and maybe he expects to put me away, thinks he’s going to finish me. But I don’t think he’s fought anyone that is anywhere near my level, so I don’t think this is the fight that he thinks it’s going to be.”
While Jeffery is the taller fighter at 6 foot 2, Rosta carries an awful lot of muscle that has earned him the nickname “Hercules.” That said, Jeffery doesn’t see a strength advantage in favor of the American Top Team fighter.
“He’s not bigger and stronger. I’m the biggest and strongest guy. I’ve never gotten to the cage and thought like ‘oh f*ck, this guy’s way bigger than me,'” Jeffery stated when asked how he would prepare for someone like Rosta. “I don’t know, it’s not on my mind that much. I did a big chunk of my training camp with Impa [Kasanganay] who’s in the light heavyweight tournament, fighting this week for PFL and I held up fine against him, and he’s fighting at 205. So I think I’ll be okay.”
As for Rosta’s ranking and where it might leave him — Jeffery himself is ranked #6 — it might be a little too soon to worry about such things.
“It doesn’t matter right now that much to me. I need to win this fight, that’s the only thing on my mind. He’s ranked number four, so I’ll say it puts me at least at number four, but I’ve just got to focus on this one for now.”
For a small town Ontario kid, Aaron Jeffery has come a long way, making it to one of the biggest stages in professional fighting. “It’s really hard to step back and appreciate it all. It’s something that I try and do more now,” Jeffery replied when asked about that journey. “I don’t know man, nothing feels any different. I still do the same sh*t. I think I’m the same guy doing the same thing, I still go back to Tillsonburg every week and chill on the farm. I haven’t gotten anything different, I still drive a minivan, I still live in a little apartment. So I’m just trying to stay humble I guess, but still appreciate what I have.”
Watch our full interview with Bellator 298’s Aaron Jeffery above. The event takes place this Friday, August 11, 2023 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD.