Steven Koslow is getting his opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world just before his 26th birthday.
Koslow will face fellow promotional newcomer Cameron Saaiman this Saturday at UFC 282, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Koslow steps in on short notice for Ronnie Lawrence, who was forced to withdraw from the matchup for undisclosed reasons.
The 25-year-old has opened up a lot of eyes, not just because of his 100 percent first-round finish rate, but also because of his nickname: “Obi Won Shinobi The Pillow.”
“My first nickname was ‘The Pillow’ because of my jiu-jitsu abilities, and I always put people to sleep,” Koslow told MMA Fighting. “I’ve always been able to showcase my jiu-jitsu, and that was my nickname from the beginning. I’ve always been into anime and Naruto my whole life, so I deemed myself ‘Shinobi,’ so it was ‘Shinobi The Pillow’ for a long time.
“For my pro debut, we actually did a Star Wars themed event on May 4, that was in 2019. When I was walking out, one of the announcers threw ‘Obi Won’ in there, so it was ‘Obi Won Shinobi The Pillow,’ and it just kind of stuck ever since then.”
Saaiman, who is also 6-0 as a pro, makes his first octagon appearance after earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he picked up a third-round knockout victory in August.
Koslow, a product of Fusion X-Cel in Orlando and 10th Planet Jacksonville, is well aware of how talented his opponent is. Short notice opportunity, or not, Koslow is thrilled to make his octagon debut against a fighter he has a lot of respect for.
“I know Cameron is a tough guy, that’s why he’s undefeated — amateur and professional,” Koslow said. “He’s a young kid, not much younger than I am. I’m just stoked to get in there and fight a guy like Cameron in my first fight in the UFC, that way I can really showcase how good I am and start my path to the belt.
“That is my main goal getting to the UFC belt, and I want to be a UFC champion.”