Aaron Jeffery knows he’s in the title picture heading into just his third promotional bout, and should he defeat John Salter, Jeffery doesn’t see why he can’t jump the line to fight for the Bellator middleweight title.
Jeffery will face Salter — a one-time title challenger — in a main card bout at Friday’s Bellator 293 event, which takes place at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif.
With Johnny Eblen sitting as the reigning 185-pound champ, he has eyes on the upcoming Bellator Paris main event between former champ Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards, but Jeffery feels as if he could be in play for a title shot should he take care of business.
“I think it makes sense for me to maybe have a title fight right after this if I do it impressively,” Jeffery told MMA Fighting. “Right now, Eblen seems to be calling out the winner of the fight between Mousasi and Edwards, so I don’t know if Eblen takes the winner of that one. Do I potentially fight the loser, or do I get matched up against the winner and Eblen has to sit for a little bit longer? I don’t know, but I think it’s definitely, it’s the four of us. It’s me, Salter, and those two guys that are in the picture right now.”
Since signing with Bellator, Jeffery is 2-0 with a pair of finishes, including his most recent outing where he stopped recent title challenger Austin Vanderford in 85 seconds at Bellator 284 this past August.
Salter will look to snap a two-fight skid after suffering losses to then-champ Mousasi, and the now-champ in Eblen. Jeffery says he took a lot away from Salter’s past two appearances and feels like he’s seen all of what Salter has to offer already.
“I love this matchup, man,” Jeffery said. “I’ve been fighting grapplers my whole career. My defensive grappling is one of my strong suits for sure. I think it’s a perfect fight for me out of all of the guys in the top-10. This is definitely one of my favorite matchups.
“If you watch a few minutes of John Salter, a couple of his highlights, you know what he’s going to do, you know what he wants to do. Even just looking at his record, most of his wins are by submission. So I watched those fights [with Mousasi and Eblen], and some of his other fights and I think I know what to do. But I can see myself getting a TKO later in the fight.”
Should he get the job done — and with the card featuring a slew of other Canadian fighters — Jeffery is hopeful that the buzz he can garner helps push the promotion to a return to Canada sometime in 2023, a country Bellator hasn’t visited in nearly a decade.
“Dude, they better be [going back to Canada],” Jeffery said. “I don’t know what they’re waiting for at this point. Maybe if the UFC comes to Canada, that will kind of open up the doors for them to make them realize it’s possible again.