Steven Gardener, (2-3), bantamweight fighter who makes his BAMMA debut in March, against Mahmood Besharate. It is a great opportunity and big chance for Steven to showcase his skills on the big stage. He took some time out to answer some questions for me about his MMA journey so far.
Hi Steven, thanks for taking the time to do this. Can you tell people a little about yourself?
“No bother mate, I’m a dad with two girls and a son. They are the reason I want to better myself because I don’t want my kids thinking its normal for a Dad to sit around with no goals in his life”.
I see that you are making your BAMMA debut in Newcastle. How does it feel to get the chance to fight on BAMMA?
“I felt like a kid at Christmas when my amazing managers, (Dale Percival n Steven Scott), told me the news that I was fighting on the biggest show in Europe”.
You are fighting the unbeaten, Mahmood Besharate. How much do you know about him and do you think their is more pressure on him as he is undefeated?
“I know he has great stand up and good wrestling but I think it makes us a top match up. I think we both have pressure on our shoulders cos we are on the big stage now and it’s what could make or break us. As for his record, that means nothing to me because everyone can be beaten as I will show you”.
What do you see as your best skills?
“I’m all rounded but coming from a boxing back ground I would say my hands are my strengths”.
How is your training going? Is there anything you’ve had to change for this fight?
“My training has gone great. I train with my team, NFA, and with the TFT lads. I train 110% for any opponent and wouldn’t disrespect them by putting anything less in, so I stuck to my same fight camp”.
Last time out you defeated Nathan Thompson by TKO, in 43 seconds! This snapped a 3 fight losing streak. How good did it feel to get that first win?
“I’m 2-3 now! The guys who put records together have got it wrong. I stopped my opponent on eiko 1 in 24 seconds and also beat Nathan Thompson on made4thecage”.
There is a saying that says you learn more in defeat than success. How much did you learn from the start of your pro career?
“As for my three losses they have all came against good lads. My pro debut was at featherweight against a Swedish lad, then at lightweight against Daniel Parks, a pro who’s been around years. Then I fought against James Macallister who is a ranked 13 lad and took the fight on seven days notice and then went the distance! So I’ve never lost three in a row! I’ve been a pro a year now and learnt a lot mainly, like don’t take daft fights! I’m a bantemweight and walk about 65kg but took fights at featherweight and lightweight, which wasn’t my best decision!”
I will never experience getting into the cage and fighting. And for that I have so much respect for everyone who does it. What’s the feeling like when the cage door is shut and it’s just you and your opponent?
“Once you shake the nerves off there’s no better feeling knowing you are going to put everything you have learnt to the test”.
What do you find as the most challenging aspect of MMA?
“The most challenging has to be balancing family life. This is because I have to train hard and see my kids less”.
What is the best thing about fighting and what motivates you to fight?
“The best thing about fighting in MMA has to be the sportsmanship! After the fight you become good friends and my motivation comes from my son n girls!”
What’s the biggest piece of advice you have ever received?
“The best advice has to be to drop down to bantamweight”.
Thanks again for taking the time. Anybody you’d like to thank?
“I would like to thank team nfa ,TFT lads, and my management team made4thecage. Thanks to my sponsors besupreme and fitness2000. Also to my good friend Rob Angus who helped me out, Zoe and my family. Lastly to BAMMA for giving me this opportunity”.