Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steve Burton Interview

One of the exciting fights at NAAFS Night of Champions will be Steve Burton vs Dave Lastafka. Both fighters agree it is like a striker vs grappler. But its striker in Lastafka who has a ground game and a grappler in Burton who can striker. Burton is coming of some very good wins against some talented fighters and is very confident heading into this fight.

Q: Can you start out by talking about how you got started in the sport?
A: In 2009 I was coaching high school wrestling and Brian Dressler was fighting out of Wooster and training for one of his fights. I saw him working out at a high school and talked to him about it. I went down on a Saturday and started training with him and haven't looked back since.

Q: You have had some quality wins over good fighters lately. How has that helped you improve as a fighter?
A: They build a lot of confidence you know. Burbol is a very big name, comes from GirffonRawl. I have known about him since I started fighting, so he was a big opponent for me. Bresson has been in the semi-finals twice now and was ranked number one twice. Going all three rounds with those guys helped me build confidence and helps on a mentality level.

Q: How important is having that confidence going into a big fight like the one you have coming up?
A: I think confidence is huge. You have to be confident in your skill set, your coaches and your training. If you aren't confident you start doubting. Stick to your game plan and having a lot of fights and three round battles and coming out on top, you are ready for anything at that point.

Q: When I interviewed Dave Lastafka he said this is basically a striker vs a grappler. Would you agree?
A: Yeah, he comes from Vanyo which is primarily a stand-up place. So definitely a striker vs grappler. He has a couple wins by submission, so it can go standing or on the ground.

Q: To be referred to as a grappler, does that underestimate your striking?
A: Yeah, I believe he is going to underestimate my striking a lot. Since I have moved to Evolve for the last two fights and now for this one, working with Ryan Madigan and Steve Traczyk, my stand-up is miles from what is used to be. He's seen me fight Burbol and Bresson, and my game plan for them is different from what it is for him.

Q: On a night with many big fights, I think this fight can steal the show, would you agree?
A: Yeah, there's a little bit of history with this fight, a little big of personal stuff. So I don't think this fight will make three rounds. A lot of fireworks and a big ending.

Q: What are you expecting out of him in this fight?
A: I expect him to fight like he did against Burbol, throw his jab a lot, backing up, trying to keep me away with push kick, keep me at a distance and try and close in hard when he does.

Q: He said he is confident if it goes to the ground, is it safe to say if it stayed standing you are equally confident?
A: Yeah, I would have to agree with that. I am confident I am going to control where the fight goes and the pace.

Q: What is the key for you in this fight?
A: It's no secret where I want the fight to go. Eventually I want the fight to go to the ground. Like I said, I am gonna control where it goes and how it goes. Put him against the cage and take him down or take him down in front of the cage, either way, he is going to end up on the ground.

Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: Either a submission or TKO.

Q: Its for a title, what would a title with NAAFS mean to you as a fighter?
A: It would mean a lot. A NAAFS title holds a lot of credibility. A lot of publicity, winning that title puts your name out there, your gym out there. Winning a title for Evolve through NAAFS really publicizes your name and helps out your career.

Q: What makes you want to keep fighting for NAAFS?
A: I like the opponents. If you want to fight the best, that's where you wanna go. They are organized and Nichole Long knows what she is doing. Its a good organization, real quality.

Q: Have you given any thought to when you want to turn pro?
A: I have thought about next year sometime. But I just fight, I leave that up to John Cook, Ryan Madigan, my coaches. I just do what they tell me and go into the cage and fight.

Q: Speaking of Evolve, obviously a great gym. What are the benefits for you as a fighter training there?
A: Different fighters. There are thirty some amateurs and a handful of pros. You have your strikers like Madigan and all the others, your ground and wrestling with Clint. So you get different looks every day. So many coaches there to, Madigan, Steve Traczyk, Musser, your pros, there is always someone who can help you.

Q: One thing I like about Evolve is they have what I call the Evolve train. Even if there is only one guy on the card, it seems the whole gym shows up to walk out with him and support him. How much does it help to have that much support from teammates?
A: Its big, its huge. Like you said, when you are the only fighter and you have thirty guys behind you walking out for the fight it shows everyone we are for real. Even if its one guy we travel together. We travel together and we fight together.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Intimidation Clothing, Muscle Basix, Accenture, friends, family, teammates. And Dave Lastafka thanks for the pizza, after this fight the pizza is on me.

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