Justin Steave might be the best 6-5 mixed martial artist on the planet. Trained by Fight Club
Pittsburgh, Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh, and Impact Fight Club, Steave is a well-rounded talent featuring devastatingly powerful striking and a slick submission game that has led to two knockouts and three submission victories in his 11-fight career.
Unfortunately, he’s also come up short five times inside the cage, most recently falling to Nate Landwehr via at Gladiators of the Cage – The Road to Glory 8 on Jan. 24. Still, Steave remains undeterred, and he’s pushing forward, looking to bounce back and make a statement against Chris Coggins at King of the Cage: Lone Survivor, April 25 at the Meadows Casino in Washington, Penn.
InYaFaceMMA’s Jaime Chesney recently caught up with Steave, and the two dished about his past, present, and future, painting a detailed picture of the man they call “The Hawk.”
InYaFaceMMA.com: Were your parents athletes?
Justin Steave: Yes, my mother and father, who were both the younger siblings on their sides of the family, were both athletes. My mother was a gymnast and my father played baseball, basketball, football, and tennis.
IYF: Where did you grow up? What was it like?
JS: I was born and raised in the rough side of Pittsburgh (Garfield) until I was about 5 years old, then ended up moving to Weirton, W. Va., where my mom is from after my parents’ divorce. I love both places, and you can always find me at one or the other. I have family and friends in both places. I witnessed a lot of bad things but also a lot of good in Garfield, which required a lot of street smarts and helped make who I am today. And Weirton was definitely more on the country side of things, but again, it’s HOME!
IYF: Did you get into fights as a kid? What were the reasons?
JS: I never really got into any fights growing up. Here and there I may have, but I never looked for trouble. I was too involved in sports to worry about it.
IYF: What kind of sports were you into as a kid?
JS: I grew up playing basketball, baseball, track, wrestling, and swimming, which I fell in love with all at the same time (until suicides were introduced to me while training for pee \-wee states in wrestling. I never ran that much in my life *laughs*.
IYF: When did you first get involved with MMA?
JS: I got my start back in the fall of 2006. I was introduced to the sport by a good friend, Branden Lee Hinkle, who is a UFC veteran. I told him I wanted to train. He gladly accepted me but was curious as well.
The first thing was sparring, and I held my own, then came the jiu-jitsu, and I’ll tell you today if I didn’t get my ass kicked, I would have never fought. So I think you know where I’m going from here. Let’s call it “triangle city.” But being a competitor, I had to keep coming back for more, which later led to my first MMA fight.
IYF: I know you recently got married! Congratulations! Can you tell us about your family life and how that fits into being a Pro Fighter?
JS: Yes, I got married Oct. 18 to my wonderful wife, Amy, and we have a son (Jailen) who is my everything! Being a professional fighter with a family definitely isn’t easy. There is lots of time away from family, but I’m blessed to have a wife like Amy who knows the sacrifices I have to make to reach my dreams and allows me to do so.
IYF: You are considered to be one of the best stand-up fighters around, can you please tell us about that?
JS: Thank you. I just try to separate my standup from others. I’m unique in my own way, but I’d have to say I’m by far one of the most technical, not just on the regional scene. I treat the art as a Chess Game and my jab is the pawn.
IYF: What goes through your mind when walking into the cage?
JS: I’m telling myself just to have fun and know where ever I’m at, even his backyard, it’s MY CROWD, MY ARENA, MY CAGE!!
IYF: Are you looking for a knockout or a submission?
JS: I used to always look for the knockout, but growing as a fighter, I just want the win. But a finish is always on my mind!
IYF: How did you get the name “The Hawk”?
JS: One of my old teammates would call me it after saying I resembled Aaron Pryor in my amateur boxing matches.
IYF: Can you tell us a little bit about your training regimen–who you train with, what you eat, how your weight cut goes?
JS: I train with a good group of guys at Fight Club Pittsburgh, Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh, and Impact Fight Club. My weight cuts are pretty hard getting to 145 pounds, but I’m making the drop my next fight to 140, so my dieting has to be very specific and strict.
IYF: Where do you hope to be in one year? How do you plan on getting there?
JS: Next year, I really would like to be knocking on the UFC’s door. And the only way to get there is more wins, starting April 25th at The Meadows Casino versus Chris Coggins!
Let’s have some fun with this section. What’s your favorite:
Food: Lasagna! I’m a Blatalian.
Alcohol: I’m really not much of drinker.
Athlete: Allen Iverson
Sports Team: Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts
Actor: Robert Deniro
Dream Date: None of those anymore *laughs*
What place would you like to travel to that you haven’t been yet? Dubai
MMA Fighter you’d most like to train with: Jose Aldo
Heroes: My parents
Thank you Justin “The Hawk” Steave for interviewing with us! All of the best to you!
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