For bantamweight Ricky Steele, the lockdown imposed by the novel coronavirus ended up being advantageous for him. Having nagging constant injuries throughout his time fighting, being able to take some time off ended up paying off for Steele.
Among the most serious issues Steele has faced in his career has been an injury to his foot, which up to this point has required multiple attempts to rectify the situation with little to no positive result.
“For the first time I would say my whole entire career I’m healthy,” Steele told MMAWeekly.com. “I was dealing with a foot problem that I’ve had multiple surgeries with. After The Ultimate Fighter (in 2018) I had my foot completely redone and now for the first time in my career I’m completely healthy.”
While there has been some advantage to lockdown, the coronavirus did push back any plans Steele may have had for the first half of his 2020.
“After the Contender Series I was ready to get to work, and they said they wanted to see me be active and have another fight or two, so going into this year I was looking to do that,” said Steele. “All I wanted to do was fight, then Covid hit.
“For the most part there wasn’t a whole lot of training. The gyms were all closed, so I was just doing some backyard strength training really. The gym’s been open for a few months, so it’s been business as usual. We’ve been able to get back into the swing of things.”
On Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Steele (6-0) will look to add a title to his resume when he takes on Zviad Lazishvili (12-0) in the 135-pound championship main event of LFA 90.
“I think it’s a great classic striker versus grappler match-up,” Steele said. “I’ve been able to make the transition over to MMA pretty well. I’m absolutely ready. I’ve shown in my fights that I’m ready for anything. I can wrestle if we have to.
“The work I’ve put in not only this camp, but my whole entire life. I feel like I’ve been training for this my whole entire life for this one.”
With all that has happened this year, Steele is choosing to focus on what’s directly in front of him rather than look too far down the road to what could possibly come his way before year’s end.
“It’s all about this fight,” said Steele. “I fight every fight like this. I take every fight like it’s a championship one. Every fight is important.
“I never look ahead. There’s no reason to. This sport’s too humbling. You don’t take it for granted, at all. I’m training and am expecting fight of my life, and I look forward to it – I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to fighting and testing myself.”