by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Steve Cantwell may have one of the shortest title reigns
ever in mixed martial arts and he never even lost his title.
Cantwell became the World Extreme Cagefighting light
heavyweight champion when he defeated Brian Stann back in August. Upon winning his title, Zuffa decided
to merge the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions into the Ultimate
Fighting Championship so the WEC could concentrate on their lighter weight
It would seem that a fighter would be upset that their title
was never defended, but for Cantwell, moving to the UFC is a very exciting
“I’m extremely excited,” said Cantwell in a recent interview
with MMAWeekly Radio. “It’s like
the first day of school. I’ve
trained hard and did everything I can.”
While the WEC is certainly a first-class organization, it
was always Cantwell’s desire to join the number one mixed martial arts
organization. “No doubt that was
the goal. The dream was to make it
to the UFC. I didn’t think it
would come so soon; overnight like that.
But it’s good.”
Cantwell was certainly not expecting to be moved to the UFC
so soon. After all, the UFC has
the best collection of top-ranked light heavyweights in the world. While Cantwell would have liked to get
some more experience under his belt in the WEC, he welcomes the challenge.
“I have no complaints,” said the 22-year-old. “I have a nice shiny belt. I would have
liked to have a couple more fights in the WEC to hone my skills a little bit
more, but everything happens for a reason. I’m completely thankful.”
Cantwell boasts a 6-1 record with his sole loss coming at
the hands of the man that he just defeated to gain his title from, Brian Stann.
Cantwell received a call that he was going to be fighting
Stann once again to settle the score in the WEC, but when news surfaced of the
merger with the UFC. He found out that he was going to take on Stann on the
UFC Fight for the Troops card.
Cantwell wasn’t thrilled about fighting Stann already, being that fans just
saw them fight a few months prior.
However, as fate would have it, Stann was forced to pull out of the
fight due to injury.
“I thought it was fair under the circumstances because we’re
1-1. I wasn’t too happy about it
because I thought it was too soon,” explained Cantwell. “I didn’t think the fans would want to
see it that soon. Then they
switched venues, because I was supposed to fight Brian Stann in the WEC, and
then they called me a week later and told me I was fighting Brian Stann on the
UFC Fight for the Troops. I was kind of thrown into his backyard. But whatever, that got me more pumped
up for the fight. Another week
went by and then he pulled out for the fight.”
Cantwell will now take on Razak Al-Hussan, who is undefeated
at 6-0. Preparing for Stann was
definitely an easier task being that there is a good amount of tape on
him. However, Al-Hussan presents a
different challenge because there is not a lot of footage and he is relatively
unknown to the MMA scene.
“When they first told me I was fighting him, my coach pulled
up a fight of his on YouTube, two fights of him,” he said. "The first one
with some not too good footage and the other one with decent footage. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them
because they got pulled off of YouTube.
My coaches and teammates have seen him fight, but I haven’t.
"I think that’s an advantage on his part, but I mix it
up a lot in my fights. Guys
watching footage on me doesn’t really matter because I mix it up. I never do the same thing twice.”
The UFC is running a very special card for the troops on
Wednesday night. The entire event is centered on the Intrepid Fallen Heroes
Fund to raise funds to build a hospital for traumatic brain injuries for the
brave men and women in the United States Armed Forces. Thousands of soldiers from nearby Fort
Bragg, the proud home of the U.S. Airborne and Special Operations Forces, will
be in attendance. More information
about the facility, including ways to donate, can be found online at www.fallenheroesfund.org or by
Cantwell is thrilled to take part. “I’m happy to be on the main card. It should be a good card and a good fight. There’ll be a lot of energy in that
place with those guys. I’m
completely grateful to the UFC and the WEC for what they’ve done for me. I’m looking to put on a good show.”