Tyson Steele has quickly become a role model to some of Carlyle, SK’s youngest citizens – although he is somewhat hesitant to admit it.
“I don’t really see myself as that, but I think I, kind of, am,” explained Steele, 25. “I’ve been back to Carlyle before and there are young kids – I don’t exactly know how old they were – that would read about me and see my fights on the internet that wanted me to take pictures with them and show them the belts that I’ve won.”
Although Steele – a professional mixed martial artist who has won eight of his nine matches since making his professional debut four years ago – is admittedly surprised that he has become a role model in Carlyle, which boasts a population of roughly 1,300 citizens, he is nevertheless appreciative of his stature in his hometown.
“It’s a nice thought,” Steele admitted. “I’m motivating kids, so that’s awesome … I never really thought about being a role model, but it’s good to go back there and visit with people. If I can help them out in any way, I’m more than willing to do so.”
Moving forward, Steele, who is to return to action against Ryan Ford – a top-ranked Canadian welterweight – in the main event of the AMMA 9 card on Feb. 11 in Edmonton, may soon see his stock as a role model rise even higher in Carlyle.
“[A victory over Ford] is going to be huge for my career,” Steele explained. “Ryan is one of – if not the – highest-ranked Canadian welterweights that’s not with Zuffa, so a win over him is going to skyrocket me to the top of the list, it’s going to put me on everyone’s radar.
“I just want to fight for the UFC someday – that’s the next step, I guess. Once I’m there, my goals will be revaluated. Coming from such a small town – where the sport is really becoming popular – it would be great to make it to that level.”
According to Mitch Clarke, who trained with Steele for some time before moving to Edmonton and eventually making his UFC debut in 2011, Steele may not be too far off from reaching his next goal of competing inside the UFC’s octagon.
“He’s got a lot of potential to go to the big show and show what he can do there, for sure,” said Clarke, 25. “He’s obviously close; he’s got a good record … If he beats Ford, there’s definitely a lot of potential to go on to bigger and better things.”