When planning meets opportunity, good deeds always have a way of providing rewards. That’s if one is willing to work for it. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice all have to come into play when you’re reaching for lofty goals.

Building for the future, Bellator is home to a fleet of rising stars looking to flaunt their skills on a premiere fight platform. Set on turning dreams into reality, Bellator lightweight contender Steve “Thunderbeast” Kozola is progressively molding a legacy fit for a must-watch rising star in our sport.

Undefeated in his two-year run as a pro, this “ThunderBeast” has been raining thunder over all of his competition thus far. Staying humble, being undefeated hasn’t created an inflated ego — Kozola knows that in MMA, anyone can be beaten on any given day. For Kozola, it’s all about improving with each battle.

“Each fight has its lessons and it’s very important to recognize and interpret what you did both right and wrong in each fight,” Kozola told The MMA Corner. “It’s important to stay humble, focused and motivated for each fight and never take anyone for granted, no matter their record or experience. Good thing for me is that I get humbled every day by my teammates in the gym in all aspects of martial arts, so it’s easy for me to keep a level head and stay hungry to improve.”

Having a supportive fight staff of coaches and teammates is very important. Luckily for Steve Kozola, he is surrounded by just that. Working under the tutelage of Dan Henderson, there is no denying Kozola is learning from one of the best. With the aid of the MMA legend and his teammates at Team Quest, this elite training gives him the complete edge going into all his fights.

“Training with Dan is phenomenal! He’s very knowledge about all aspects of the sport and is always willing to give his advice based on his experience and train right along beside you. He’s quiet but has this friendly and humble presence to him. It’s an honor for me to train with him at his gym, alongside my amazing teammates”

There’s always room to learn and to grow in an effort to gain more knowledge about the endless aspects of combat fighting. Stepping outside the box into a gi as a BJJ purple belt, Kozola has also been fine tuning his technical ground game skills thanks in part to his training at Oceanside Jiu-jitsu under Professor Nathaniel Soli. Happy with his progression, Kozola looks forward to learning more and moving up the ranks in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

“One of the things I noticed about my MMA was the lack of fundamentals in my grappling game and since going to Oceanside Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Nathanael Soli, I feel my grappling is on a new level than ever before. Training in the gi has helped me tremendously in improving my game by forcing me to use my technique instead of relying on my strength and power to beat my opponent. It slows the roll down and gives me time to be more methodical about my next move.”

ThunderBeast hopes to utilize his newly acquired skills going into his next fight on May 15 at Bellator 137 against (1-1) Ian Butler. Fighting for a major promotion in Bellator helps Kozola in building his MMA future in and out of the cage.

“It legitimizes me as a fighter and athlete to be competing against the top fighters in the world that will assist me in catching the eye of MMA fans all over,” he said. “I also have plans to one day open my own training facility and fighting for this promotion will give me the credit and experience I need to coach future fighters to their dreams of fighting for a major promotion.”

Injury free from his last fight victory over Jonathan Rivera at Bellator 132, Kozola has been back in the gym ever since, continuing his studies of different techniques and methods of training. Mentally and physically, Kozola couldn’t feel any better going into this fight as he looks to come out victorious over Butler in this must-watch fight.

“I’m very happy and excited about having the opportunity to fight in Temecula again at Bellator 137 on May 15! I’m going to come into this fight more improved and skilled than ever before. I always have much respect for my opponents and look forward to the challenge of using my strengths to capitalize on their weaknesses. And as always, I’m looking to finish the fight in an impressive fashion!”

Steve Kozola Special Thanks: I would like to first thank my lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the countless blessings he has given me. I would also like to thank my family for their unconditional love, my friends for their support, my coaches for their instruction and time, and my teammates for pushing and encouraging me every day. Thank you to all my fans, you all give me the motivation I need to get up and train as hard as I can every day to put on great performances for you. God bless.

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.