Interviewed By: Steven Duffus
Following the injury to Rob Sinclair it has been announced that Curt Warburton will now headline the twelfth installment of BAMMA on the 9th of March against current Lonsdale British Lightweight belt holder Stevie 'Braveheart' Ray.
Stevie Ray, entered the 155lbs ranks on the back of an impressive spell in the Welterweight division of the sport which culminated in him being named the #1 Welterweight in Scotland following an impressive KO win over the previously highly thought of John Quinn.
Ray, who currently holds a 12-3 record, with his three losses coming at Welterweight and in the forms of highly rated fighters such as Assan Nije and Niko Musoke, won the Lonsdale British Lightweight with an impressive unanimous decision over Dale "The Hurricane" Hardiman.
We managed to find out a little more about the 22 year old who has only been training MMA for three years.
How did you find yourself getting involved in Mixed Martial Arts? I done a bit of boxing training before I switched my focus onto Mixed Martial Arts, but nothing too serious. An old friend of mine asked me whenever I saw him to go along and train as he was doing it and just wanted a mate to go with, so eventually after all the pressure I gave in and I've not looked back since.
Who are your favourite fighters? I don't really have a favourite fighter to be honest. I just like watching entertaining fighters. I respect GSP's intelligence to win regardless if it's "lay and pray" or wherever he decides to take the fight. I like how he's very well rounded and he knows how to get the job done.
How do you spend your time away from Mixed Martial Arts? I live with my girlfriend and two kids so anytime I'm not training I'll either be spending time with them or maybe out seeing a few friends, but if I'm being honest I'm very rarely away from training for long.
You'll be defending your title against Curt Warburton at BAMMA 12 - Curt is obviously aiming to be on his way back to the UFC, a win for you at this stage of your career over him would surely be massive for you? Yeah Curt's on a four fight win streak since the UFC so I think he's obviously targeting a return to that promotion. For all we know the UFC might already be scouting him and have him in their sights for a return if he adds another win to his record. If they are already scouting him then obviously if I was to get a win over him then that would put me on the map as not just the UFC but other promotions will look at his record and say who's this guy who just ended his four fight win streak. So yeah it would definitely be a good win for me.
There's obviously a lot of footage available on Curt Warburton - have you been able to identify his strengths/weaknesses and work on a game plan specific for this fight? Yeah I've watched a couple of his fights. Identified how he fights and any potential weaknesses and done all the usual stuff checking out how he's won his fights etc. I'll be happy wherever the fight goes on the night. I feel comfortable in every area at the moment, but obviously I'd prefer it if I weren't on my back but I will be ready for all possibilities when this fight comes round.
As the defending champion, you must find it a little strange to be thought of as the underdog for this fight? Not really. He was supposed to be fighting for the World title before Rob Sinclair got injured and I know he's highly rated. I thrive on being the underdog. In a way it's a nothing to lose situation for me. If I lose, then the majority of people will say well that was to be expected. But if I win, then it's a big step for me and will get people talking about me. It's always going to be more pressure on the person who is expected to get the win. But I'm here to make a statement and that's what I'll be doing when I take the belt back up the road to Scotland with me.
You've recently made the switch from Edge MMA to the Dinky Ninja's, was this reason just purely for training with the best pro's in the country? Yeah definitely. I switched to the Dinky Ninjas as it's the best team in Scotland both fighting and coaching wise. I've seen big improvements in myself so it's definitely benefited me. There's always someone preparing for a fight, so it's great in that respect for sparring too. I secured a sponsorship deal with Geo Thomson Knockout Art which helps me with funding my travelling expenses so I have to be very grateful to him as without him this wouldn't be possible.
You're relatively in-experienced compared to some of the guys around you in the rankings, what are your long-term goals for your career? I'm a quick learner ha ha. I don't really care too much about experience, I've fought twenty-three times in three years so it's fair to say I've been busy and not done too bad. I've beaten guys a lot more experienced than me. Infact every guy I've beat is probably more experienced than I am. I KO'd John Quinn who was ranked #1 Welterweight for years, a fighter who is a lot more experienced than me and his only loss was to Pascal Krauss for the Cage Warriors World Title so I became the best ranked Scottish Welterweight on the back of that victory. I'm currently ranked twelfth in the Lightweight in the domestic rankings with most of the guys occupying the top ten either in the UFC or on the fringes of it. I'm currently undefeated at Lightweight and my long-term goal would be to get to a level where I can live comfortably doing MMA full-time and not have to worry about money. The UFC would obviously be great ha ha.
Who would you like to thank? I'd like to thank my coach James Doolan and all the guys at the DNFT. My management On Top Promotions. My sponsors; Geo Thomson Knockout Art, Sport-Sense Nutrition, Forca Luta, Fitness Factor, Stark and 1st Choice Glazing. I'd like to thank yourself for the interview and also lastly my family. Without their support none of this would've been possible.
I would personally like to thank Stevie for giving up his time to do this interview. Stevie although only having trained in MMA for three years has been able to reach the top of the weight divisions he's competed in, in Scotland and is a fighter who's got a lot of promise. From speaking with him, I'm more than certain he's got the drive and the right people surrounding him to make his talent reach it's fullest potential.