MMA fighter wins Cage Warrior Championship

St. Rose native and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Corey Stewart, 26, recently won his June 24 featherweight match vs. fighter Caleb Lee, a win that gave him the Cage Warrior Championship (CWC) Featherweight title.

Weighing in at 145 pounds, lifelong St. Charles Parish resident Stewart is affiliated with the Ronin Martial Arts academy in River Ridge and is coached by Larry Bernard.  Describing himself as a counter martial artist, Stewart said one of his biggest strengths comes from his study habits – tracking each MMA opponent, and looking closely for any weaknesses he can exploit in his upcoming matches.

“I try to adjust to my opponent’s weakness,” Stewart, nicknamed “The Hitman,” explained of his fighting style. “If I see my opponent is a good wrestler, I’m going to box with them…I don’t want to play into someone else’s strengths.”

According to online MMA resource Tapology, Stewart is currently ranked in the top half of all active Louisiana amateur featherweights, as well as the top half of all active US Southeast amateur featherweights.

Stewart draws primarily from a boxing and wrestling foundational background. He first took up boxing at a local gym called Friday Night Fights in New Orleans when he was just 10 years old. Around the same time he began training as a boxer, he also began competitive wrestling, and later wrestled for Destrehan High. After wrestling one year on the college level at Ohio State, Stewart realized college life was not for him and returned to Louisiana, allowing himself a one-year hiatus to regroup before he began training for MMA.

His recent title win in the featherweight class is just the first step in his three-step MMA career plan he’s established for himself.

“Step two is to go pro, dominate the regional scene,” Stewart said of the current career progress he’s working on. “Step three is to get into the bigger promotions like the UFC and be successful in that area.”

His path to MMA glory currently takes him all over a 12-state region defined as the US Southeast, including states like Alabama, North and South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and others.

“Louisiana is considered [to be within] the Southeastern Regionals,” Stewart explained of the geographic MMA region he currently competes in. “So, I’m looking at Southeastern, and will work my way towards the West, which is another big atmosphere where MMA is pretty big right now.”

Reflecting on what it takes to succeed in MMA, Stewart said one of the more challenging aspects of being on the amateur MMA circuit are the dual roles of having a full-time job while maintaining a demanding daily training schedule.

“The most difficult thing about being an MMA fighter is the scheduling,” Stewart said. “You’re always going to be busy with training, and most times as amateur fighters, we all have a few jobs.”

Stewart’s daily routine typically includes working long hours at his day job, heading to the gym to train, going home for much needed sleep, then starting the process all over in the morning.

“I enjoy the grind, it keeps me grounded,” Stewart said of his routine. “Just seeing how far that I know I can go with the sport – and I plan on going pretty far.”

While any given MMA fight might bring him all over the Southeastern United States region, Stewart said he is currently working with additional promoters to get a local fight venue set up closer to home, perhaps at an area high school gym or similar venue.

“Hopefully within the next year or so I want to fight at least two more times in front of my hometown,” Stewart said. “Just stay on the lookout for ‘The Hitman’ – I’m going to be making lots of noise.”


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