Following his first-round submission win over Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 210 in November of 2018, middleweight John Salter was looking to keep his momentum going in 2019, but things didn’t work out the way he had hoped. But now he hopes to get back on track to a Bellator belt.
Salter admittedly has been disappointed by the fact he has not fought all year, but he has been able to look at the positives of the situation.
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Salter told MMAWeekly.com. “This is the way I make money. I want to stay busy as much as possible. At the same time it has given me time to work on holes in my game and to get better.
“I’ve always got something to focus on and something to build. I would have liked to have fought more, but it’s still worked out and it’s been a good year, and I’m excited to get in there.”
Salter believes he doesn’t have to have a fight to know where he’s at with his game in 2019, as he’s been able to gauge where he’s at thanks to the training he has put in so far this year.
“I think I know who I am,” said Salter. “I have a lot of good training partners. I know exactly who I am. I’m better than I was the last time I was in there and I plan on showing it.”
On Friday in Thackerville, Okla., Salter (16-4) will finally have his first bout of 2019 when he takes on Costello van Steenis (12-1) in the Bellator 233 middleweight main event.
“He’s a guy I have to be good at everywhere (to defeat),” Salter said of van Steenis. “There’s not a clear path to an easy victory with him.
“Chidi is one of the most dangerous guys out there, but I knew if I put him on his back I would have a clear path to be dominant. I don’t think there’s a clear path to just put (van Steenis) in a position to finish him.”
Following his bout with van Steenis, Salter is looking to take a little time off before returning to action in early 2020 and begin his path toward title contention.
“I want to take the holidays and relax a little bit then fight in February,” said Salter. “That would be perfect. Obviously a lot is decided by Bellator, and who takes and when, but (fighting in early 2020) would be perfect for me.
“I don’t want to just be a guy who is pretty good in Bellator. My goal is to be the Bellator champ and hold that belt. Everything I do revolves around getting to that point.”