“Once that cage closes, it’s just me and Curt.”
By JJ SADDINGTON
“If we’re in his front garden, in my house - wherever it is - when the cage shuts, nobody can come and help him.”
“I am a strong believer that once that cage closes, it’s just me and Curt. It doesn’t matter where we are.”
A CWFC world lightweight champion will be crowned on June 7, at the Kentish Town Forum in London, England, as Ray and Warburton do battle in one of two main events going down at Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday.
Fighting an Englishman in England isn’t something that phases Ray, in fact, the Scot insists the crowd has no influence on what happens in the cage at all: “I fought Davey Parker in England, his gym was close to the place. He had roughly 300 people there who were all cheering for him.
“I ended up choking him out. I don’t think it‘s an advantage at all.”
Ray’s rise to recognition in MMA began in less than auspicious settings: “I never really knew anything about MMA. One of my friends was training at a private gym. It was a guy doing it in his back garden - he had a log cabin.”
Things could have gone a lot better the first time Ray trained, but the adversity faced didn’t hold him back: “We were rolling and sparring, I was flung in at the deep end. I went and spewed afterwards, the fitness was quite hard. After I spewed I kept training, the instructor could see I had heart and I wanted it. He told me to come back and It went from there.”
It’s a long way from the log cabin to the CWFC world title, something Ray earned the hard way, defeating both Jason Ball and Sean Carter in one night back in October, 2013, at CWFC 60. An undeniably impressive achievement, and one the 24-year-old is hoping to rival with a win at Super Saturday.
“There’s a lot of hype for this event. The card looks really amazing and I’m ready to put on a show and be the main event,” he says. “I’m getting to win the belt back and avenge my loss to Curt in one night. It’s going to be great.”
The two met back in March, 2013, with Warburton coming away victorious, taking a unanimous decision after three rounds: “He (Curt) kind of does everything right, he grinds out the win – that’s what he did to me: took me down, laid on top of me, did enough to win the fight.”
Ray thinks that things will be different this time, however: “Last time I fought him I had five weeks’ notice. To have twelve weeks this time is a big difference,” he explains. “I believe I could knock him out, submit him or go the five rounds and beat him.
“I learn a lot from every fight, regardless of if it’s a win or a loss.”
Sometimes those lessons can be learned outside of the cage, as Ray discovered after losing the belt to Ivan Buchinger at CWFC 63 on New Year’s Eve, 2013 in Dublin: “I’ve learned to take my time with eating after the weigh-ins. I just ate far too much and it ruined me the next day,” he adds. “I was kind of ill the day of the fight.”
Not everything that went wrong for Ray that night was a result of overeating: “The other mistake I made was trying to win every round. When I was three rounds up I still went out and tried to dominate the fourth, when maybe I should have been a bit smarter and been on the back foot a bit.
“Even if I’d lost those last two rounds I would still have been champion.”
Despite the loss, Ray chooses to focus on the positives from the loss and use them to move forward: “Sometimes it’s good when a fighter loses a belt and then comes back to win it. It shows that they’re hungry, determined and motivated. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
His instructions for Super Saturday are simple: “Don’t be at the bar getting a drink. Make sure you’re in your seat, make sure you’ve got your popcorn or whatever,” says Ray. “It could be over fast, and even if it’s not, it’s going to be one hell of a fight.
“Be ready for the best fight you’ve ever seen.”
Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday takes place at the Kentish Town Forum in London, England, on Saturday, June 7. Click HERE for more information.
Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
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