Ray ready to make it three from three

Stevie Ray punches his way through Leonardo Mafra. Pic by Lisa Ferguson.

Stevie Ray punches his way through Leonardo Mafra. Pic by Lisa Ferguson.

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The UFC does exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s the ultimate in fighting championships - but Kirkcaldy’s Stevie Ray admits he’s been taken back at just how easily he’s adapted to its standards.

Ray heads into his third bout as a UFC competitor this weekend in Dublin when he faces Mickael Lebout.

After preparing his entire career for a crack at the elite, Ray has barely broken sweat in his first two fights, beating Marcel Bandel and then Leonardo Mafra with minimal fuss.

His win against Mafra, where he made quick work of his opponent with a first round stoppage, earned him the ‘performance of the night’ prize on the Glasgow card.

“It’s gone perfectly for me; my first two fights have been fine,” said Ray.

“It’s worked out that, fighting in the UFC, those two fights have been two of the easiest I’ve ever had and I’ve come out of them unhurt and unaffected.

“I really haven’t taken much damage at all.”

UFC fighters are now joining footballers and boxers in becoming household names.

The purses can be massive, and even Ray’s short stint in the championship has proved life changing.

“Before I was working, doing PTs (personal training sessions) and on construction sites and now I’m not having to do that,” said the
fighter.

“It’s my job now and if want to do more yoga to help me then I can.”

Ray trained for his forthcoming fight at the ‘Home of Champions’ mixed martial arts centre, Tristar, in Montreal.

He spent four weeks there to get ready and reckons it has him fighting fit.

“Two of the other guys on the same card as me were also training there so I’ve been with them,” said Ray.

“Joe Duffy, who is one of the guys headlining, was my sparing partner and it really couldn’t have been much better because he has a similar build and stance as Lebout.

“I was able to get some sharp rounds in.”

His opponent should represent another step up in class for Ray who says he’s done the right amount of homework on him.

“I don’t like to watch too much tape - just enough to know what they’re about,” said the Kirkcaldy fighter.

“He can hit in some dangerous areas but I’m really focusing on me and what I’m going to do.

“He’s in the UFC so must be dangerous but I know I can win this fight.”