Steve Carl It’s been almost a year since Steve Carl last stepped foot in the Bellator cage, and what was at the time the ultimate learning lesson.

When Carl first made his debut in Bellator he was a 12-1 prospect with aspirations of climbing to the top of the promotion’s welterweight division.

Unfortunately for Carl, he went 2-2 over his four fights with Bellator before leaving the organization in 2011. The losses did serve as a wake up call to Carl because as soon as he saw his name on the marquee, he thought he had made it.

“I know the few losses that I had I let the hype feed into me a little bit too much. I got to see the commercials on TV, I got to see all this build up, but really it’s still just two guys in a cage. I let it consume me,” Carl told MMAWeekly.com.

“Now I realize it’s just a fight. It’s you and another guy in the cage and you’re trying to go in there and lay it out.”

Since leaving Bellator, Carl has amassed a perfect 4-0 record with four submission finishes all in the first round. He’s re-tooled his training so instead of killing himself everyday just to prove he could push further than his opponent, he’s working to actually become a better fighter.

“Over the last couple of years with my training, I’ve really dialed it down. I used to be a really bad over-trainer. I would just push myself and push myself, because mentally I was putty. I didn’t think I belonged with those guys at all and now my mental game is 100-times stronger and I don’t need to push myself that hard,” Carl stated.

With his training schedule in check and his mental IQ for fighting at a new level, Carl is ready to jump back to the big show and prove that he belongs with any of the best welterweights in the sport. The Iowa native has his sights set on the UFC this time, and he knows he can prove he belongs there.

Looking at the roster of UFC welterweights, Carl believes he can go toe-to-toe with the best in the world, now he’s just waiting for his opportunity to prove it.

“I definitely believe so. I mean I look at their roster right now and I know personally on paper I’m better than half the guys there, and most of the top guys in the UFC I’ve worked out with, I train and travel around and I’ve got to work with some of the top guys in the world and you just know that you’re on that level and that you can compete at that level,” said Carl.

As a matter of fact, Carl doesn’t want to go through all the hassle of signing a long term deal and make a splash about joining the UFC. He says call him up short notice, give him any opponent on the roster, and he’ll be ready to prove himself in the Octagon.

“I don’t need to put in a 8-week camp for one guy,” said Carl. “I don’t need to build up for one guy. I’m already ready to fight, let’s get in there and do it.

“Short notice is what I want because short notice can put you on the main card against a big name.”

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