Next up is another Scotsman carrying that flag on one of the highest stages. Cage Warriors Lightweight Aiden Stephen holds the flag close to him as he prepares for battle.
The mixed martial arts journey for Stephen first took place in 2012, when he first made that walk debuting as an amateur. The first two bouts went as best they could for Stephen, securing two wins via rear-naked choke. The first taste of defeat as an amateur came to a fellow Scotsman who competes alongside Stephen at Cage Warriors in Paull McBain. During the next four contests, Stephen seemed to find his stride, winning four bouts back to back with three submission victories.
It was time to leave the amateur circuit behind and test his skills in the pro ranks. The professional debut didn’t go much different to the amateur. Another rear-naked choke victory v Michael Putlak at ‘On Top: Frontline‘ cemented Stephen as a dangerous submission artist. Just 5 months later, Stephen was back in the octagon with current Bellator Bantamweight Cal Ellenor and had fallen victim to a Guillotine choke from the Englishman.
After three consecutive wins on the regional scene, Stephen attracted European hot shots ‘Cage Warriors’. The Cage Warriors debut came at Cage Warriors 100 in Cardiff, Wales against an experienced Kris Edwards. The bout was closed to an end in round two, with Stephen locking in a kimura.
Next on the Scotsman’s radar was Kingsley Crawford. Kingsley had been riding a three-fight win streak before Stephen shut that down. With Stephen winning five bouts back to back, the streak came to and he ended up falling short to a unanimous decision loss to Steve Aimable at Cage Warriors 105. With some time off, Stephen returned to action making a huge statement, finishing Jack Collins in the first minute of round number 1 via elbows.
What does it mean to you to be representing your country in martial arts especially on a stage such as Cage Warriors?
Stephen – “It means the world, I’m very proud to be from Scotland. I take my Scotland flag everywhere I fight. You’ll struggle to find a more beautiful country.”
You’ve been fantastic on Cage Warriors so far, more recently making a real statement. What’s next for you or are you “a take it as it comes” type of guy and see what’s offered?
Stephen – “I’d like to fight for the title. I’m more than ready but for the time being I just enjoy having exciting fights. There’s some very exciting fights for me. I’d love to fight in Ireland next.”
What motivates you to get up everyday and train and have the drive to be the best in your craft?
Stephen – “I’ve always been very competitive, but after losing my first pro fight, it was such a crushing feeling, I never wanted to experience it again, so I use that experience to push myself every session.”
What does fighting bring to your life?
Stephen – “It gives me something to focus on mentally and physically. I can have the worst day possible, then a good training session and seeing all my friends can make me happy again. Most people only see the fighting side of the sport, but for me, the relationships formed and constant improvements as a martial artist made in the gym are the best thing about fighting.”
In five years’ time, where do you see yourself, what’s the end goal for Aiden?
Stephen – “In 5 years I will be competing at the highest level for one of the world’s top promotions. The end goal is to retire when the time is right and start training the next generation of world champions.”
Make sure you’re following Aiden Stephen’s social media to watch the journey to the top.
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