Steve Langford is eager to build on his momentum after recording his first pro-victory at Golden Ticket Fight Promotions 19 back in March.
Golden Ticket Fight Promotions returns to the K.K Steelmill in Wolverhampton for the show’s 20th instalment on Sept.3. The fight card has enough for every fight fan, with amateur and professional action throughout the evening.
We caught up with one man among the action in, Steve Langford, who meets Rhys James on the night. We dived into Steve’s previous fight, being away from competition, and what we can expect from him on fight night. Read the full exclusive interview below.
Interview With Steve Langford
Just over a week from your second outing of the year. Talk to me. How does it feel to be back having two fights in quick succession? How satisfying does it feel to be back?
Oh man, it’s amazing. I was hoping to get back out in July for GTFP19, but my leg was pretty jacked up from the March fight, and there were a few personal things going on, so we opted against it. I’m the kind of person that needs to be busy; that goes for life in general – so being back in camp with the team has been fantastic. It really helps me stay focused and makes it all worth it. I know it’s cliche, but it’s important for me to have an end goal. It can’t get much more motivating than knowing another man is training to beat you up!
I want to touch on the long break. You made your debut in 2010. Not many people take a 12-year break and come back. What was the reasoning behind wanting to train, grind and get back to competing?
I had several amateur fights way back in 2006-2008, also. I’ve been involved in this sport for a long time as a fighter and a coach. When Dan Cassell opened Intensity MMA, I never really had the drive to fight again; the truth is, I was enjoying wrestling and BJJ far too much.
We had one of the first sparring sessions since opening the gym, and it just felt right. I held my own against the young guns and literally just said to Dan, then and there, “I want to go in March”. He had faith in me, and as they say, the rest is history.
Looking back, I’ve always enjoyed a scrap, and I always knew something was missing from my life. The reality is I should never have fought MMA way back when; I had no structure and was nowhere near skilled enough. I suppose I’ve finally found myself in there.
In the last GTFP show, you bagged yourself a round-one stoppage win. Talk me through that feeling, and just how much did that mean to you after being away for a long period of time?
Mate, it’s almost impossible for me to put into words. I had visualised a stoppage win from the start of camp, but to actually have the ref step in like that. The emotion was overwhelming.
Sam was a tough, tough man. He jacked my leg up in the opening minutes, and I felt on the back foot until I found my range and that right hand. What a fight that was. I got massive respect for Sam. We’ve shared a moment. I wish him all the best in his career.
Steve Langford Talks Time Away From Octagon
In terms of the fight for what it lasted, many people would come back and not be feeling themselves. Did you feel okay in there and in the lead-up to the fight? Was everything the same as you remembered?
It was completely different this time round. Back in 2010, I had no business being in there, and I knew it. I travelled down to Wales to cut weight by myself and had zero clue what to do; the camp was very minimal, and I would say, in all honesty, I was deluded by my skill set and ability to compete.
This time round, I was solid in my confidence. I was able to focus on my game plan and skill set because the weight wasn’t an issue. The camp was injury free, I was firing on all cylinders, and it just felt right.
GTFP put on a great show. It’s got a ‘big show’ feel to it. They treat you well, and the show production is top-notch. I sold quite a few tickets too, so all in all, it was just a great experience.
In terms of your opponent, Rhys James. What do you know about him, and how do you feel you match up against one another?
I’ve seen some footage of his MMA win and some of his boxing hybrid-type bouts he’s had in Wales. He’s a tough man, isn’t he?
I think it’s a very interesting matchup. We both have that pro win, good momentum, and we are both dropping to light-heavy.
I think it’s too early in our respective careers to say who has the edge. But I know one thing, he needs to come prepared.
I asked Rhys the same questions. Both of you have a stoppage win banked in your win column. Do you feel this fight see’s the judge’s scorecards? How do you envision it unfolding?
I honestly don’t think the judges will come into play with this one.
I just can’t foresee a decision win. It’s just not playing in my mind. I stop him, whether that’s on the ground or standing. I stop him.
It’s going to be a tough old scrap and one the crowd is really going to enjoy. He isn’t going away easily. I know that much. There is no way he’s travelling this far to get beat.
As I said, you’ve been active thus far. If all goes well and you remain healthy, can we expect to see you back towards the end of the year or early into 2023?
I would never look past my next opponent, but I’m hoping to get back out there in December. I plan on finishing the year 3-1, so I can go into 2023 with some interesting conversations with some bigger promotions. Ultimately, I want some memorable experiences, and it’s a dream of mine to get abroad. So we shall see.
I’ll give you the final word. Is there anyone you’d like to thank, and do you have any last words for your opponent?
Where do I begin?
I want to shout out to my coaches, Dan Cassell, Chris Paines, Ranj Singh and Mitch Pearce. We have a solid team right there with a lot of experience in their respective fields.
Massive shout out to my teammates at Intensity MMA and Fighting Fit BJJ, Stafford. You know who you are, far too many to name!
A special shout goes out to Owen Cartridge, Sam Hill and Naqi Arshed. Pushing me in camp and keeping me sharp.
In terms of my opponent, Rhys, I’ve said this directly to you. I hope your camp goes well. Good luck with the weight cut, and I’ll see you on Sept 3rd. Let’s give the crowd what they want. There will be no backward step from me.
Featured image credits to Shaun Mint