When thinking about consistently solid fighters who have been in MMA for almost a decade, the name Steve Carl is not always the first to come to mind. In fact, Carl’s name is not mentioned nearly enough despite the veteran sporting a 19-3 record with 16 career finishes.

Carl came into the spotlight in 2010 when he participated four times in the Bellator promotion. The promotion itself was still gaining fans, but with its consistent growth in fan base came more exposure for the Iowa native. Not only did more fans get exposure to Carl and his brand of fighting, but it allowed him to grow as well.

“Bellator helped me out as a fighter,” Carl told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I wasn’t as confident in myself during those fights. I really developed confidence from going out there. Before I got really nervous before I fought; now I am excited to go out there and fight on the big stage. This fight with World Series of Fighting is just another step in my career.”

Carl (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Not only has the exposure in Bellator been key to Carl’s development, but experience against high-level opposition has helped him as well. Of course, fighting in a promotion like Bellator will provide fighters with a challenge, something Carl needed to help boost his confidence even further.

“A couple fights have shaped me and made me better,” Carl continued. “My first fight with Bellator against Brett Cooper was big. I went into that fight convinced that I had to beat him on the feet. It gave me more confidence in the sense that I am not one-dimensional. That fight itself made me more comfortable as a fighter.”

Since departing from Bellator, Carl has won four fights in regional promotions before signing the dotted line with World Series of Fighting. From there, he made his debut on the inaugural card against Olympic-level wrestler Ramico Blackmon.

“My first fight with WSOF against Ramico Blackmon was great. I was so calm, I couldn’t keep myself from yawning. I was good to go because I wasn’t worked up in the back. Once we hit the ground, I felt in control and everything went to plan,” he recalled.

That growth is an obvious thanks to his time with Bellator. Despite winning the fight in quick submission fashion against Blackmon, Carl is quick to point out that he is well-rounded and is more than just a tapout artist, especially as he prepares for his upcoming bout at World Series of Fighting 3 against Tyson Steele.

“I want this to be a striking battle,” Carl proclaimed. “I want people to know I’m not just a submission fighter. I want knockouts. Submissions are a strong part of my game, so I will take them, but I really want to knock guys out.”

Steele has 11 fights to his name, so he is half as experienced as Carl. However, the Canadian prospect is a dangerous adversary, something Carl knows he needs to be wary of.

Carl (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“I think I can exploit his inexperience. He is physically strong and good on the ground, but he seems jittery on the feet. He can throw heavy leather, but he can be wild,” explained Carl.

Steele has said in interviews how he feels the fight will go. Carl has kept his ear to the media while training, only something that will further motivate the American when the cage door shuts this weekend.

“I heard an interview with Steele where he said he would knock me out with ground-and-pound, but I don’t think that is likely.”

Despite Steele being the first opponent on Carl’s mind, he has a much larger plan than just fighting this weekend. In fact, the grappler has gold on his mind and a next fight he is salivating over.

“I want Jon Fitch…or Josh Burkman, whoever wins that fight. Fitch has a target on his back, he’s a big-name guy. Burkman is just as tough and on a roll. I want to beat them and become the champion,” he confidently declared.

Of course, Fitch and Burkman are still out his grasp until Steele has been dealt with in the cage. Gunning for his 20th career win, all focus is on Tyson Steele come this weekend. Until then, anticipation builds and time in the gym is ready to be paid off.

Steve would like to thank A-Line Iron and Metals, Complete Nutrition, Dr. Bauer’s Chiropractic, Team Hard Drive, Kevin Burns and all the boys out in Des Moines, his family, his friends and his fans.

Top Photo: Steve Carl submits Ramico Blackmon (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.

  • Chris

    Steele and Carl both have a chance to really help their careers on Friday. National media exposure plus a chance to fight the Burkman/ Fitch winner