Austin Vanderford is not deterred by his first career loss.
Vanderford (11-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) had a fast rise up Bellator’s middleweight rankings, which resulted in a title shot against experienced veteran Gegard Mousasi.
But Vanderford tasted defeat for the first time when Mousasi finished him on the canvas in less than two minutes at Bellator 275 in February.
“I always hold myself to a high standard and going out and getting the victory regardless of what my record is or whatever,” Vanderford told MMA Junkie Radio. “So I don’t think (I had) any pressure in that sense. More than anything, I’m just excited, honestly, to get back out and fight again and go prove that – not that it was a fluke, but I had an off night and I learned some things in the fight and I might have let the pressure get to me a little bit more in that sense in that fight with that opponent. So I’m just excited to get back out and get right back to work.”
Vanderford is booked to face fellow Dana White’s Contender Series alum Aaron Jeffery (12-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) at Bellator 284, which takes place Aug. 12 at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.
The 32-year-old American Top Team fighter hopes to remind everyone of his potential and takes solace in knowing his performance against Mousasi wasn’t an accurate showing of what he thinks he’s capable of.
“I wasn’t patient enough,” Vanderford said. “I got a little bit of an injury when I took a sh*tty shot, and just something I can learn from and get better from. I could confidently say that I know that that was the worst performance of my life, and I’ll be able to just build off of it and get better from there – and really the only way is up. So I’m excited to go showcase that on (Aug. 12).”