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Bellator 234’s Austin Vanderford has sights set on title belt, but don’t expect a heel turn

Austin Vanderford discusses his upcoming fight against Grachik Bozinyan at Bellator 234. The event takes place this Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel and will be headlined by a heavyweight showdown between Sergei Kharitonov and Linton Vassell.

“The Gentleman” talks about traveling to Israel for the first time and how much he has enjoyed the area, not knowing much about his opponent but figuring out the puzzle during his training camp, how much better he feels as a middleweight, if he feels this was the right step up in competition following his dominant win at Bellator 225 in August, how he sees the fight playing out on Thursday, his goal of becoming a world champion and much more.

In addition, Vanderford talks about the way he and his wife Paige VanZant approach the fight game in a, sometimes overwhelming, closed-mouths-don’t-get-fed sport like mixed martial arts.

In other words, if you’re expecting a heel turn of sorts, don’t hold your breath.

“It is a very funny sport and it’s a funny way that people make names for themselves,” Vanderford told MyMMANews.com. “I truly think the most important thing is to be genuine, whatever that is. I’ve met some of these guys who are genuinely a big mouth and they use their mouths and stuff. I do think that’s a cool part of it. But I’ve also met guys who are faking it a little too much. That’s just not something that I’d ever want to be. I’m always going to be humble and, it’s actually really funny to talk about this because when I first started off my career, there was a couple of different routes I could go being Paige’s husband. I had some people tell me, ‘Man, it would be really cool, you should be the heel. It’s going to be cool for people to hate you and you’ll get more this and that.’

“I kind of sat down and thought about it and said that’s just not who I am. I’m not gonna come off as genuine [if I do that] and I truly think that would hurt me than anything else. It’s kind of a cliche thing but I think we’re both marital artists and there’s a level of respect with that. I think the cool thing to do is be genuine with yourself. You’re always gonna get haters, and you’ll also get people who care about and love you.”

Check out the full interview with the unbeaten Austin Vanderford as he prepares to step back in the cage this Thursday at Bellator 234 in the video above.