Austin Vanderford suffered his first professional loss to Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 275 this past Friday, but ‘Mr. VanZant’ has already vowed to return to the Bellator cage a better fighter.
The previously undefeated Vanderford earned a championship opportunity against Mousasi after earning five consecutive wins and becoming the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division under the Bellator banner. As impressive as those past appearances were, he could not get anything going in his fight with the champion.
Mousasi stunned Vanderford with a left hand, which forced the 31-year-old to shoot in for a takedown. That was stuffed by ‘The Dreamcatcher,’ who then pounced on his opponent and dropped down punches and elbows that led to the 85-second stoppage in front of a raucous crowd at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
Despite falling short in his quest for gold, Vanderford responded to his loss on Instagram and wrote he was still thankful for the experience.
“Humble in victory and defeat,” wrote Vanderford. “Congrats to [Gegard Mousasi] on the well earned victory. Last night wasn’t my night, but I’m thankful that this will only make me a better fighter. Thank you to the friends, family and fans who support me! We’ll be back better than ever. Thank you to my team [American Top Team] and [Marcos Parrumpa DaMatta]. Thank you to all my teammates at ATT, best gym in the world. And last but most important, thank you to my loving wife [Paige VanZant] who is there for me forever and always. I’m good, and motivated to just get back to the gym.”
As for Mousasi, the reigning champion has now successfully defended his belt twice. After some apprehension, he finally felt confident in claiming the title of “best middleweight in the world” during his post-fight press conference with assembled media.
“I feel like I’m the best middleweight in the world right now,” said Mousasi (video provided by MMA Fighting). “I never said that because I never thought I was the best, but I told everyone in training camp, on this day, I was the best middleweight. I don’t know about tomorrow, but today I was the best.”