Andreas Ståhl interview: Talks milestone championship-win and extensive career
Seasoned Swedish MMA veteran Andreas “Real Steel” Ståhl ended the year in the best way possible.
On December 10, he finished Paulo Bananada in a red-hot rematch at Superior Challenge 25, to avenge a tough second-round submission loss six months back.
Ståhl felt like he was the better fighter back in June, but got trapped in a guillotine choke. This time however, Bananada didn’t stand a chance. After the Brazilian got beaten up in the opening round, the referee stepped in to stop the fight halfway through the second, to save him from the Swede’s relentless ground-and-pound.
And it was not only glory and revenge that was on the line in Stockholm – but the promotion’s prestigious welterweight title.
In an exclusive interview with Frontkick, the 34-year-old Swede comments on winning the strap in such a dominant fashion and avenge a loss that’s been eating at him for a long time.
“It feels so good to show my real potential,” Andreas Ståhl says. “In my two last fights in Superior I’ve been playing a bit too safe in order to get the wins. This time, I really wanted to just go in and make it my fight. I’m most dangerous when I put high pressure on my opponent.”
Walking out to Mötley Crüe’s classic heavy metal hit Live Wire – a favorite song for both the fighter and this writer – Ståhl had the excited Swedish crowd in his grasp from the start.
“This is the best experience so far, it’s an important milestone for me, where I am in my career at the moment,” he says. “It felt like I was fighting on my home turf. I really delivered and got everything together, and the belt was just a big bonus. It felt like I was peaking right there and then.”
Andreas Ståhl is a true veteran of the game
The Swedish welterweight veteran has a long and interesting professional career that eventually led up to the Superior title. A career that spans over three decades and started all the way back in 2009.
During the years, he fought in major organizations like Cage Warriors and UFC – where he gave fighters like Santiago Ponzinibbio and Gilbert Burns a good run for their money – as well as regional promotions in Sweden.
Looking back on his long career, he almost laughs when he recalls how the MMA scene was in Sweden when he turned pro back in 2009.
“Back then, people in general didn’t have a clue what MMA was. They looked at you like you were some kind of a thug,” Ståhl chuckles. “Then Alexander Gustafsson broke through and the sport got more accepted in Sweden. He was such a good ambassador for the sport here.”
“It’s amazing to see how fast the young talents develop nowadays. There’s so many good local fighters right now, and the level of the amateurs – compared to when I started back in 2007 – is extremely high. It’s great to see how the sport grows in Sweden.”
Looks to defend the title and fight abroad in 2023
Right now, Andreas Ståhl will take some time off during the holidays, but looks forward to getting back in the cage in 2023. As the new Superior welterweight champion, a lot of interesting matchups already opened up.
Just days after winning the strap, the major European promotion KSW got in touch with the Swede, who aims to take a fight in a big organization in the months to come.
“My manager is working on things right now,” Ståhl says. “If I fight in Sweden it will be at Superior Challenge, where I plan to defend my title at their next event, probably in May or June. But I want another fight abroad before that.”