Published: 09:00, 20 January 2017
You could not reasonably expect much better martial arts tutelage than that provided by a fighter who once stepped into the ring with a world champion.
Steve O’Keefe was on the cusp of taking his professional mixed martial arts career to the highest level when he took on Irish star Conor McGregor in 2013, but defeat to a man now worth an estimated £17.5 million saw him settle on an early retirement.
Three years on and he is looking to pass on all he learned to students at his new training facility in North Star Boulevard, Greenhithe, which opened this month.
The 30-year-old, originally from Peckham in south east London, wants to provide top-class coaching to all who attend, no matter how old or talented they are, and give them the perfect platform for success in the ring.
Mr O’Keefe said: “My goal was to open a facility where people could fall in love with martial arts the same way I did.
“I want to give young people the opportunity to realise potential they never knew they had. I think we have achieved this.” His own path to fighting McGregor was not quite so straightforward, with mixed martial arts (MMA) not so much the global sensation back then that it is now.
Mr O’Keefe said: “I have been doing martial arts since I was about nine, starting with taekwondo, and when I moved down from London to Kent at 17 there wasn’t really anywhere to do martial arts, so I started playing football.
“It wasn’t until I was 20 that I found a local MMA gym – Combat Sports in Rochester.
“The grappling drew me into it because the guy having me out was literally half my size. It didn’t matter about the weight or strength advantage, it was all about the skill.”
His love of the sport saw him turn professional in 2010 and he had 10 fights, the last of which was against McGregor, who is now Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion.
Retirement inspired him to start doing charity work in London to help young people use boxing to change their lives and realise their potential, and now he is excited to bring his expertise to north Kent.
He said: “It’s something I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to be my own boss and have been a personal trainer since I was 18.
“I’ve fought at a high level in taekwondo since I was young and I want to be in that environment 24/7. I didn’t want to work in an office.”
Revolution Martial Arts, which is in Unit 1 of North Star Boulevard, offers classes in MMA, Brazilian jiujitsu, and muay Thai, plus classes for children.
For more information, including membership and pricing details, email steveo@
revolutionfitnessuk.co.uk or call 07583 012919.
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