May 19, 2011 – This Saturday night in Ponca City, Oklahoma, several fighters from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and even more from elsewhere in the Lonestar State will be making the trip to compete in Cowboy MMA promotion’s “Caged Cowboys” show and represent Texas MMA across state lines.
Amongst them, 31-year-old Steve Hess of Spartan Sports Southlake will be competing against fellow Metroplex resident Hayward “The Hybrid” Charles in a battle of two high-level grapplers looking to avenge recent defeats and move their MMA career forward.
TXMMA.com recently caught up with Mr. Hess to learn more about his burgeoning MMA career and get his thoughts on his upcoming fight this Saturday.
Steve thanks for taking the call. I know you have a fight coming up this weekend in Oklahoma. Before we get to that, tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Well I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu about nine years ago and am currently a brown belt. I started fighting (MMA) about two years ago and doing the training and everything associated with it. That’s pretty much about it.
What about outside of fighting? Any other hobbies?
Yeah,sure. I own Fighting for Fitness, a fitness company in Dallas where we provide personal training, personal MMA instruction, and fitness boot camps for our clients. The boot camps and personal training both have an MMA twist on it, especially so with the boot camps. That’s what pays the bills, so in between that and fighting, this world is pretty much it for me.
Are you originally from Texas?
I’m originally from Atlanta, GA. I lived there pretty much my whole life. One day, I wanted to kind of get out see someplace new. I had a couple of friends out here so when I graduated college I came out to Texas. I’ve been here for about six years now.
How did you get into fighting in the first place?
Jiu-jitsu came first. I always wanted to get into martial arts. One day, I was working out at a gym I went to and there was this Navy SEAL I was talking to that was taking jiu-jitsu. He recommended it to me. I just started doing it and it snowballed from there. I was progressively getting more serious with it and when I moved out here, I was training with some fighters and that’s how I really got into it, really.
Who did you start jiu-jitsu under and who are you training with now?
I started jiu-jitsu with Eddie Cannon out of Tiger Academy in Atlanta. I’m ranked as a brown belt under Orlando Waugh and now I’m with Taryn Douglas out of Spartan Sports.
How would you describe your style as an MMA fighter?
Obviously my jiu-jitsu is my bread and butter but I’ve been working on my striking a lot so I’d say I’m a combination of hands and grappling. I do a lot of cage work and what not.
Looking at your record, I see you went 3-0 as an amateur, and you’re now 1-1 as a pro. Can you tell us the story of your career thus far?
Yeah, I was 3-0 as an amateur. I thought I had two pretty good amateur fights. The second one was kind of a tomato can so I don’t really count that as much of a fight. My last fight I lost. In my opinion, I don’t think I lost just because he was a better fighter. There were a lot of reasons, part of it being that I wasn’t used to cutting weight and I had to cut twenty pounds and came out flat so I did that wrong. I’m looking to make a rebound from that now.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in MMA from here on out?
I think at this point, I enjoy doing it and I’d like to see where it goes. Obviously the more wins I have, the better it is for me. I think I have potential, but at the same, there’s a lot of other talent out there so at this point, I’m just going to continue to keep doing it, keep training, and see where it takes me.
So between that and your business, would it be safe to say that you’re going to be involved with MMA for the long-haul?
Yeah, that’s definitely another part of it. I know I’m not going to be fighting for the rest of my life so I’m also definitely focusing on growing my business. The camps right now are starting to grow huge. I believe the MMA aspect of it attracts a lot of people, who all realize what great shape most fighters are in. I’m setting myself up for the future by fighting right now, and also fighting for fitness as well – which is why it’s the name of the business.
Tell us a little bit about the fight this weekend. What promotion is for and who is your opponent?
I’m fighting for Cowboy MMA this Saturday in Ponka City, Oklahoma. My opponent is Hayward Charles.
What do you know about Hayward Charles?
I know he has good jiu-jitsu and that’s really about it. I know he just fought J.J. Holmes…
Did you happen catch his last fight with JJ Holmes at all?
Yeah, from looking at him, he does look like he has good jiu-jitsu. It should be a good fight considering we’re both jiu-jitsu guys.
What are your thoughts as far as strengths/weaknesses? How do you feel you guys match up against one another?
I’d say I’d guess we’re close to equal on the ground. I would say I think my hands are probably a little better than his. As far as weaknesses, I would say maybe I need to practice more on my wrestling but I think it’s a good matchup.
Without giving anything away, you care to share how you will win this fight?
I’m not going to say anything specific but I’m going to win however I can. Either submission or striking.
Why should fans watch you fight or otherwise pay attention to your career?
I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been working so hard on my hands. A lot of fans like to obviously watch guys punch and that makes for an exciting fight. They don’t just want to see action like a jiu-jitsu tournament in the cage so I’m working on standing up. I’m pretty big for 185 so hopefully that’ll translate also.
Any last words or anybody you want to thank?
Yeah, I’d like to thank My Fit Foods. They’re sponsoring me. Also Spring Valley Sports Care and Spartan Sports. Of course I want to thank all my training partners – they all know who they are. Mohler Jiu-Jitsu, Orlando Waugh, Casey Earwin, Brian Beard, Taryn Douglas, Brad Scott, and everyone else that’s helped me get to where I am now.