Kirkcaldy fighter Ray regains Cage Warriors world title belt

MMA fighter Steven Ray, Kirkcaldy, wins the lightweight world title at the Cage Warriors 69 event at The Form in London - June 2014. Pic: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors
MMA fighter Steven Ray, Kirkcaldy, wins the lightweight world title at the Cage Warriors 69 event at The Form in London - June 2014. Pic: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors
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Kirkcaldy mixed martial arts fighter Steven Ray reclaimed his world title at The Forum in London on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old defeated former UFC fighter Curt Warburton by a split decision in the five round main event at Cage Warriors 69 to win back the lightweight belt he lost in a defeat to Ivan Buchinger on New Years Eve.

“It feels really good to win the belt back,” Ray told the Press.

“Curt has beat me in the past so it was good to get the title back and avenge my loss to him.

“I felt a lot more confident this time. I took my last fight with him at five weeks notice and rushed the fight camp.

“This time I had a 12-week fight camp and was much better prepared. I’ve also improved a lot as a fighter so my confidence was really high.”

After 25 minutes, two judges marked the fight for Ray with respective scores of 50-45 and 48-47, while the other scorecard read 48-47 in Warburton’s favor.

The split decision was Ray’s sixth win in his last eight outings, with his only defeats coming against Warburton and ex-champ Buchinger.

“We were feeling each other out during most of the fight,” Ray said. “It was a bit tit-for-tat but I felt I was winning every round.

“I never felt in any danger - I never got hurt or taken down - but he wasn’t in much danger either.

“It wasn’t until I watched the fight back that I realised it was a wee bit closer than it felt, but I’m still confident I deserved the decision.”

Ray’s fight was broadcast live on Premier Sports TV and his victory was celebrated in living rooms and bars across his home town.

“I had some friends and family down in London with me but I know loads of people were watching back home,” he said.

“I could hear them in my head cheering me on. It’s great to have that kind of support in Kirkcaldy. Even people who don’t know me are wishing me good luck because I’m from the same area as them.”

Ray also had some high-profile support from two of the country’s top footballers as Scottish internationals Charlie Mulgrew and Robert Snodgrass sent him good luck messages on Twitter.

“I used to be into football growing up but since I started MMA I’ve not paid much attention to it,” he said.

“I didn’t know who the players were so when they tweeted me I just favourited it the same as I do for all my messages.

“But when someone told me who they were I thought I’d better go back in and retweet them! It’s quite cool.”

Ray is now recuperating at home with partner Natalie and their two children before turning his attention to a title defence.

“I’ve been icing my legs ever since the fight - I’ve got the ankles of a 40-stone man,” he said. “I’m struggling to walk but once the legs are better I’ll get back to training and look to defend the title.”