Stevie Ray

Scottish MMA Pioneer hangs them up, Stevie Ray throughout the years

In a Facebook post on Monday, Stevie Ray announced that he will be retiring from MMA, the reason was for consistent major knee issues. The former Cage Warriors lightweight champion amassed a record of 7-4 during his five-year tenure in the UFC, and a overall 23-9-0 in professional MMA.

Ray (23-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) last competed at UFC on ESPN+ 20 in Singapore and beat Michael Johnson by majority decision in October 2019 for arguably the biggest win of his career. He also holds notable wins over “Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon.

Ray then announced after beating Johnson, he signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC. But the continuous battles he faced when trying to nurse his knee during training camps played a major part when hanging the gloves up.

So I decided to look at his luscious career and one of the best mixed martial artist Scotland has produced.

Early On:

Ray started his phenomenal career as an amateur, as most fighters do, going a perfect  7–0, his first fight was a short notice fight, at Middleweight, for which he weighted in 175-lbs, 5-pounds under the middleweight limit. His next fights were at Welterweight (170lbs). Ray made his professional mixed martial arts debut in June 2010 when he faced Shaun Edmondson at Scottish Fight Challenge. Ray competed predominantly in the United Kingdom regionals where he assembled a professional record of 16–5 before joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2015. Ray also found himself pretty handy when it came to pro muay thai when he beat Scott Morrison, class B rules, in the super middleweight division, by unanimous decision on 12 May 2012. But before Stevie joined the UFC promotion, he made his name in the Cage Warriors promotion where he became the Lightweight Champion, as well as the BAMMA British Lightweight Champion.

Cage Warriors & BAMMA:

A professional fighter  since 2010, he has also formerly competed for BAMMA and Cage Warriors, where he was the Lightweight Champion, as well as the BAMMA British Lightweight Champion at one point. He was the CWFC Lightweight Championship (Two times), he made one soul successful title defence of that belt, which fell in the hands to Curt Warburton in 2014 at Cage Warriors 73, after this he would earn the infamous UFC contract. Before winning the golden ticket, he put himself on the map when he won the CWFC 2013 Lightweight Tournament, where he beat Sean Carter in the final, which ultimately earned him a shot at the Lightweight then champion Ivan Buchinger’s belt, he fell short that night. Ray dusted himself off and came back the very next fight to win the vacant Lightweight championship versus Curt Warburton at Cage Warriors 69. They rematched straight away with yet again Ray getting the best of him again.

Ultimate Fighting Championship:

UFC Fight Night 64: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2 in 2015, is where it all started for Ray in the promise land. Ray made his promotional debut as a short notice replacement for an injured Jason Saggo against Marcin Bandel on 11 April 2015 at UFC Fight Night 64. Ray won the one-sided fight via TKO in the second round. And that was just the beginning of what marked many notorious wins in the UFC. Stevie went a perfect 3-0 start to his UFC career, beating d Leonardo Mafra at UFC Fight Night 72. He won the fight via TKO in the first round and earned a Performance of the Night bonus. That night he cashed in a extra $50,000. After that phenomenal showing he faced Mickael Lebout at UFC Fight Night 76, where he won the bout via unanimous decision. On 19 November 2016 at UFC Fight Night 99, ray got to face another British pioneer when he stood opposite Ross Pearson, that night he earned the nod, winning over the judges earning a split decision. Ray next faced Joe Lauzon on 22 April 2017 at UFC Fight Night 108. After taking a beating and coming close to being finished by Lauzon in the first round, Ray came back strong  and showed his warrior heart in the second and third rounds when Lauzon started to fade because of the energy he used in the first round. After a close fight, Ray was awarded a majority decision victory, earning back to back wins against MMA veterans. He then returned to his promise land, where it all started Scotland. It didn’t go his way that night, but ultimately that didn’t stop Ray’s ambition, when he got knocked down he knew only one thing, get up and come back stronger. Unfortunately he lost the fight by knockout in the first round after being dropped with a knee strike and subsequently finished off with a series of elbows, marking the first time he’s been finished by strikes in his MMA career.

After a two fight skid Ray faced Jessin Ayari on 27 October 2018 at UFC Fight Night 138. He won the fight by unanimous decision. Finally, Ray faced Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN+ 20 on 26 October 2019. He won the fight via majority decision and put on the best performance of his career but little did he know it would be his last. Ray was expected to face Marc Diakiese on 21 March 2020 at UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Edwards. However, Ray was removed from the card in late-January for undisclosed reasons. And that’s how it ended, not a bad career if you ask me, he has his ups and downs but one thing Ray never did, and that was he never gave up he kept on pushing and grinding to become the best. Ray will go down as one of the best Scottish and British mixed martial arts to ever grace the MMA scene. But most importantly, the whole community of MMA thank you Ray for the entertainment throughout the years you provided. You risked your life and safety for others entertainment, and for that you will always go down as a warrior and you have definitely won over our hearts.

 

Thank you Stevie Ray.

 

Championships and accomplishments:

Mixed martial arts

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • Performance of the Night (One time) vs. Leonardo Mafra
  • BAMMA
    • BAMMA British Lightweight Championship
  • Cage Warriors Fighting Championship
    • CWFC Lightweight Championship (Two times)
    • One successful title defence
    • CWFC 2013 Lightweight Tournament Winner
  • Total Combat
    • TC European Welterweight Championship
  • On Top Promotions
    • OTP 2011 Welterweight Tournament Runner-up
  • Scottish Fight Challenge
    • SFC Welterweight Championship
    • SFC Welterweight Tournament Winner

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • Scotia Cup
    • Scotia Cup 2011 white belt middleweight (under 82,3 kg/181 lbs) – 1st place
    • Scotia Cup 2012 blue belt medium-heavyweight (under 88,3 kg/194 lbs) – 1st place
  • Glasgow Open
    • Glasgow Open 2011 white belt medium-heavyweight (under 88,3 kg/194 lbs) – 1st place
    • Glasgow Open 2012 blue belt middleweight (under 82,3 kg/181 lbs) – 1st place
  • Edinburgh Open
    • Edinburgh Open 2019 purple belt middleweight division (under 82,3 kg/181 lbs) – 1st place

Submission Grappling

  • Glasgow No Gi Open
    • Glasgow Open 2013 advanced middleweight division (under 82,3 kg/181 lbs) – 3rd place
  • Edinburgh Open
    • Edinburgh Open 2019 middleweight division (under 79,5 kg/175 lbs) – 1st place

 

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