He may have been battered black and blue, but it was a smiling Steven Ray who returned to Kirkcaldy this week following his triumphant fight debut in America at UFC Nashville on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old lived up to his ‘Braveheart’ nickname with a courageous comeback from a rough first round to claim a majority decision points victory over UFC veteran, and big-name fighter, Joe Lauzon.
And the father-of-three hopes that the landmark victory can lead him to bigger and better things in the lightweight division in the UFC, starting with headlining the upcoming UFC Glasgow card on July 16.
“I’ve just been in Holland & Barret getting some Arnica cream for the bruising,” said Ray when the Press caught up with him on Tuesday.
“I’ve got multiptle sore bits but nothing serious at least. Sore eyes, elbow, knee, nose, jaw – loads of minor injuries. It’s all worth it though!
“That’s a big step in the career now. I’ve just beaten two big names (Lauzon and Pearson) and hopefully set up a good few things in the future.
“I’m possibly due to renegotiate my UFC contract so I could be in a good position to really make some serious money.
“I want on that Hyrdo card so the plan is to take a few weeks to chill out, let everything heal, then get back to training.
“I’ll possibly be looking at being the main event for Glasgow, which would be huge.”
Ray’s victory delighted his army of Scottish fans, many of whom will have watched the fight live in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it was far from straightforward.
The Fifer was able to survive a first round pounding from Lauzon, but not without getting bloodied and dominated for five minutes.
However, he was the more commanding fighter in rounds two and three, and nearly finished his opponent in the closing seconds of the fight with a series of relentless strikes before the final horn sounded.
“I stayed composed and never thought I was going to lose,” Ray said. “Sometimes it’s better having these types of fights where I can look at some things that I need to improve on and make sure it doesn’t happen next time.”