In competition, when the result is in the balance, it’s key to have a game-changing strategy.
For basketball, it’s a player that can sink the big shot as time expires. In baseball, it’s a pitcher that shuts down the other team’s offense.
But when it comes to fighting, it’s important for a fighter to have a “go-to” move — something you can pull off in a fight no matter the circumstance.
For lightweight Steele McCall, he doesn’t have one “go-to” move, he has several.
In 11 out of his 14 career wins (including amateur bouts), the Denver-based Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner has found a way to end the fight with a variety of submissions. His resume is littered with wins by armbar, triangle choke and even more obscure finishes like a leg lock and a brabo choke.
As an amateur, McCall tore through his competition. In eight amateur bouts, he went to decision just once. The rest of his wins? First-round submissions. His consistent success in the cage led McCall to turn pro in 2010, with his unblemished record of 8-0,
After transplanting to Denver in 2013, McCall has proven to be a formidable threat to others in the lightweight division. Since his move, he’s bested ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ alum Chase Hackett, as well as Denver’s Mitch Peterson. McCall fell short against rising prospect Tony Sims last April, but after a year away from action, McCall is ready to take on another TUF veteran in Dakota Cochrane on June 6.
During his time off, McCall has continued to work on his stand-up game and he’s confident in his preparations thanks to his work at 303 Training Center and The Kompound in Denver with Coach Tony Basile and Muay Thai Coach, Bryan Youngs. He’ll be looking to expose holes in Cochrane’s game when the cage door shuts.
“My advantage against Dakota has a lot to do with my reach,” said McCall of the match-up. “I know my range is better and I’m going to be able to show more skills against him in this fight. I will be better than him anywhere the fight goes.”
The confidence McCall has in his skills with be an important factor on June 6, as he’ll be fighting in Cochrane’s backyard in Nebraska. Despite the perceived disadvantage, McCall isn’t deterred by entering enemy territory.
“I’m excited to get out there and feel the energy of the crowd and put on a show for them,” he said. “They may not know me, and some may not like me, but I’ll put on a show for them, I promise.”
The thrill of competition — and more importantly, winning — have driven the Colorado-based fighter’s desire to enter the cage. But he admits, that desire started much earlier in life.
“Competing is something I’ve been doing my whole life. I grew up with an older brother and we would compete in everything,” he explained.
“That and I love to win.”
McCall’s yearning for victory may have been unfulfilled in his last outing, but his long-term plans in MMA haven’t changed. He’s hoping that a win over Cochrane will springboard him to the sport’s pinnacle.
“My MMA career is all about getting to the highest level. My ultimate goal has always been to get to the UFC,” said McCall. “A win over Dakota definitely puts me on the road to the UFC. I know he is a tough guy and you don’t beat him and not get any good offers after that.”
With his confidence riding high and his sights set on the big show, should fans expect another highlight-reel submission finish from McCall? Maybe a flying armbar? Or an inverted triangle choke?
“I don’t do predictions, I just come to win.”
[Ed. Note: This interview first appeared on VictoryFighter.com]