Steve Carl’s record really speaks for itself.
The champ has racked up a mark of 21-3 with 16 wins by submission and only 4 fights going to decision. The 29-year-old mixed martial artist has beat most of his opponents within the first round of each bout.
In October of last year, Carl’s career thus far culminated in a welterweight title win at WSOF 6, against UFC vet Josh Burkman in the fourth round via triangle choke. Burkman was coming off of the submission of the year over Jon Fitch earlier in the year.
Carl does not want to sit around waiting for a fight, he could have been slated to fight Jon Fitch for his first title defenselate spring but instead asked for a sooner bout. Carl will be defending his title for the first time this Saturday against Rousimar Palhares (15-6).
Palhares was recently released from the UFC for his second offense of holding a leg lock after tapout and injuring his opponent as well as a failed drug test for elevated levels of testosterone. In his release, the WSOF saw an opportunity to bring in a fighter with world-class skills and a winning UFC record. While Carl knows this will be a tough fight to date on paper, he is not one to back down from a challenge and seems to continue to prove his talent in the cage.
SciFighting spoke to Carl about his first title defense this Saturday, “you have no idea how excited I am, the belt is in the back of my mind I got Palhares standing in front of me that’s what’s on my mind.”
Carl does not come from a big name training camp, and has proven himself to be a unique fighter. He has a skillset that is unique and the heart and passion for the sport that has helped him be successful, yet fly under the radar.
He reported beginning MMA while he was in the military reporting, “I was always a small kid, really scrawny growing up, went into the military and my first station was in south Korea and I hit the weight room like no other. When I stayed in Texas I started training, then I flew home for Christmas I got into a head on car collision I shattered my leg and moved back home, and after I rehabbed, I started working out a local MMA in a nearby city and that’s where I have been”. His loyalty to his way of training while unique has proved itself over his fighting Career. He has had some setbacks with injuries but stated “I am smarter now in how take care of myself.”
Scifighting also discussed his training camp he stated, “my training camp you know, it’s me and a couple guys I don’t have coaches setting down game plans. I don’t have a big name team around me. I am making my own name to make myself a place in this sport. When people don’t know you or know where you are coming from and I am coming from nowhere Iowa, people just right you off immediately. I have great ju-jitsu but who did I train under, I don’t even have a belt so people just right me off completely they don’t even look at my skill set.”
Write him off people have but he doesn’t seem to mind. “The underdog is an easier roll to play, when your expected to win you have to win, when you’re not expected to win it’s an extra added drive to change people’s minds and make them eat their words, I think I am the underdog going into this one too.”
He would be correct in that assumption being Palhares is a successful UFC vet, but that doesn’t worry Carl, it fuels him “It feels great honestly. It’s better than going into the fight with the expectation to win you have to live up to, but when most the MMA world is expecting you to lose and the people that are behind me are my family, friends, loved ones and my fans, I don’t have to live up to expectations. It’s those people giving me support so I can go out there and exceed the expectations of others”.
When asked his final thoughts on the fight he said, “I am going to fight wherever the fight goes”.
For complete coverage of WSOF 9 visit SciFighting.com