Following in the footsteps of fellow Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA) fighter Josemar Octavio from the MMA Vale Tudo Namibia Fight Club, Armand Steyn has gotten himself on the right track with a Pro Licence.
At 20 years of age, Steyn has reached a milestone at being the first Namibian to get a Pro Licence, which will allow him to compete at the Extreme Fighting Championships (EFC), which is the premier professional MMA stage in Africa.
“It took me a while to get here since I first started with MMA in 2012. But I have to say that I am very delighted to have gotten my Pro Licence last month.
The fact that I am the first Namibian to achieve this milestone makes it more interesting. I never thought I would get it, but I worked hard for it,” a beaming Steyn stated.
Despite being Namibia’s first Pro Licensed fighter at the age of 20, it is clear that this was always his trajectory as he first got introduced to combat sport with wrestling at the age of 11, which earned him both South African Championship and Namibian Championship medals in his teenage years.
After stopping for a year in 2011, he was informed about the growing MMA community in Namibia in 2012 and decided to join, a decision which he does not regret to this day.
“Now, with seven fights under my belt, I want to keep improving. The next challenge is an EFC fight, and with hard work and with my coach Carlos de Sousa’s guidance, I know I can achieve it,” Steyn noted.
His last fight was a default draw due to electricity cuts when he was up against Ettine Jacobs at Fight Star in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Fight Star is an amateur and Pro-amateur event, and a main affiliation of the EFC.
Steyn says he believes he will cross paths with Jacobs again as the fighters aim for an EFC fight.
With each fight, he is gaining skills and adding to his experience.
“The most important thing to do before a fight, besides sticking to your training regime, is to do research on your opponent.
MMA employs all kinds of techniques, and you have to be prepared for them all,” he explained.
“There are many techniques to help defend yourself. If your opponent is a good wrestler, you have to work on your take-downs and ground defence.
If their strength is boxing, then you have to be prepared for that. But regardless of how much you prepare to defend against an opponent, you cannot count out a good counter-attack to take him down. The most important thing is to never underestimate your opponent,” Steyn added.
Although bubbling at the prospect of fighting full-time and one day representing Namibia in an overseas’ title match, he nonetheless remains grounded.
He works as a pharmaceutical rep, and says that balance is always important.
“In the near future, I would love nothing more than to do MMA fulltime, but at the moment and in Namibia, that is not viable. So, we are always encouraged to have something to fall back on,” Steyn explained.
He spends about three to four hours a day training, mainly in the morning (fitness) and in the evenings after work (fitness and technique).
He says his biggest challenge is drawing confidence after a defeat.
“In a sport like this, you want to be the best, and you think you’re the best. So, when someone comes and shows you that you’re not, that is always hard to accept. But you have to brush yourself off and move on”, he reasoned.
His short-term goal is to have a fight under his new Pro Licence before December.
In two years, his aim is to be ranked the highest in EFC in Africa, but he acknowledges the challenges.
As EFC events mainly take part in South Africa, preparation and travelling there before a fight puts most local fighters at a disadvantage.
His further dream is to see the event come to Namibia, and with the possibility of the event going to Angola in December, that could yet happen.