Exclusive: Austin Vanderford on "Bellator 234," Israel & being "The Gentleman"

Bellator 234 / Photo courtesy of Bellator
Bellator 234 / Photo courtesy of Bellator
Darren Paltrowitz

Known as "The Gentleman" of Bellator, Austin Vanderford is one of the MMA promotion's top undefeated stars. This week, Vanderford will be fighting Grachik Bozinyan at "Bellator 234", live at Tel Aviv, Israel's Menora Mivtachim Arena.

On November 12, 2019, I had the pleasure of speaking with Austin Vanderford by phone in the midst of his pre-fight preparation from Israel. We talked about his home life with wife (and fellow MMA icon) Paige VanZant, the music he trains to, his history as a sports fan, and what is coming up for him in general.

The full interview with Austin Vanderford is embedded below, while parts of the chat have been transcribed below exclusively for Sportskeeda. More on Vanderford can be found online at and


On becoming "The Gentleman":

Austin Vanderford: It's been maybe two fights now. I like to think of myself as a nice, humble guy. I hope the people around me think that. The name got passed onto me, so I'm running with it.

On whether this is his first time in Israel:

Austin Vanderford: Yes sir, it is. The furthest away I've been from home, for sure.

On whether he had train differently for this fight:

Austin Vanderford: Not too much. We came out a few days earlier because Paige had some web summit in Portugal, so it really worked out well. We were able to bring a coach with us and kind of get acclimated with the time and all that.

Now I feel like I'm on the Tel Aviv time schedule and now it's going to be a pain in the a*s when I get home to get back on a normal sleep schedule (laughs). But it's been great and I'm really fortunate to be able to compete over here and get to experience all this...

The biggest thing is going out there and being myself and fighting my fight. There's little things that my coaches have broken down, things to be aware of, but for the most part I'm gonna go out and do my thing and I'm excited to do it.


Edited by Nishant Jayaram


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