Steven Ray is the current BAMMA British Lightweight champion. He makes the first defense of his belt against Curt Warburton at BAMMA 12 in March. It is set to be one of the best fights on the card and Steven took some time out to answer some questions on MMA, being champion and his upcoming fight.
Hi Steven, thanks for taking the time to do this. Can you tell people a little about yourself?
“No problem mate. Well my names Steven Ray, i’m 22 years old and i’m a professional lightweight MMA fighter. My pro record is 12-3 and my next fight is against Curt Warburton for my Bamma British title. I live with my girlfriend and two kids at home”.
You are the current BAMMA British Lightweight title! How good does it feel to be the British champion?
“It feels amazing to be British champ. There’s alot of shows out there that just throw titles about everywhere so anyone can say their British/Scottish champs etc but Bamma is one of the biggest shows in the UK/world so it feels great to be a champion for such a big promotion”.
How different does it feel to go into a fight as champion? With everyone gunning for a shot at the belt?
“I’ve never actually had a fight yet where I’ve been champion although I’ve won a few different belts. So I’ve yet to experience this but i’m sure it will feel good walking out as the champ even though i’m still the underdog and in my opponents territory”.
You are taking on Curt Warburton in your first title defense. How much do you know about him?
“I know he’s a good fighter that’s fought top opposition and has had three fights in the UFC. He’s now on a four fight win streak since released from the UFC and aiming to get back there”.
What do you see as your best weapon in this fight?
“My best weapon may be my desire to win! I feel i’ll want it more than him and a few other things that i wont give away”.
How is your training going? Is there anything you’ve had to change for this fight?
“Training is going good! It’s just the same as normal really but pushing myself that extra bit further every time. Everything is going well and to plan.
You are currently on a three fight win streak. Does this add any extra pressure going into fights?
“No I don’t think it will. I’ve won fights and lost fights so I know how it feels for both. It will be just the same as before and going out 100% to get the win”.
What is it like to fight for BAMMA? And how big do you think they can get?
“It’s amazing to be fighting for Bamma. It’s such a big promotion and I’ve always wanted to fight on Bamma. So now that i’m here and a champion its just amazing. I cant wait to just get back in there and do it all over again!”
You have never been knocked out. Does that give you alot of confidence in fights?
“Yeah I’ve been hit hard both in fights and sparring and never been knocked out! So it’s good knowing iIcan take a hard shot and recover from it quickly too”.
I will never experience getting into the cage and fighting. And for that I have so much respect for everyone who does it. What’s the feeling like when the cage door is shut and it’s just you and your opponent?
“That feeling is probably the good part, as the nerves then go away and its time to do business. You have 15 minutes to do whatever you can to beat the guy standing across from you”.
What is the best thing about fighting and what motivates you to?
I’ve always liked fighting! The feeling you get when you win is just amazing! But just to challenge yourself all the time and to get better is what motivates me! Also doing what I love doing as a job is great as is the confidence it gives you”.
What do you find as the most challenging aspect of MMA?
“Probably dieting! Although I can do it and i’m used to it. It’s the worst part as i like junk food and obviously i have to give all this up. Also going out to party’s and having a good time is something I miss out on and alot of other stuff during fight camp”.
What’s is the biggest piece of advice you have ever received?
“I’m not sure on this one as there are a few bits of advice I’ve received that have helped me through fighting. Dropping to lightweight being one and moving club being the second”.
And finally, is there anybody you’d like to thank?
“Yeah i#’d like to thank all my friends and family including my girlfriend, my management ontop promotions, BAMMA, my coach James Doolan and everyone from DNFT and lastly to my sponsors – Geo Thomson knockout art, Sport-Sense Nutrition, Forca Luta, Stark, Fitness Factor and 1st Choice Glazing! I couldn’t do what I do without all these people behind me. Thanks to you as well mate for the interview”.