Kody Steele has been making a name for himself for years now. The Washington native has become a local star in his adopted state of Texas, and recently, his name has become even more prominent in the grappling scene. After a number of big wins at IBJJF Austin and Dallas Open tournaments (plus earning silver at No-Gi Worlds as both a purple and brown belt), Steele proved his prowess in the sub-only scene by becoming the Combat Jiu-Jitsu welterweight champion just about a year ago. Tonight, he’ll be making his black belt debut on the Fight 2 Win stage, facing off against David Garmo in a 175 lb no-gi match at F2W 150, and he hopes that his performance there will take him one step closer to achieving all his jiu-jitsu goals.
For all that he’s accomplished (and all that he still hopes to accomplish in the future), Texas is still Steele’s favorite place to shine. “I love competing in Texas. It’s my favorite place to compete ’cause it feels like I’m fighting in my backyard. I love the energy that the Texas crowd brings,” he told the Jiu-Jitsu Times.
Though Steele had already established a name for himself at the colored belt levels, he’s found a whole new challenge as a black belt. He was promoted at the beginning of this year, and just a couple months later, COVID-19 prompted mass shutdowns in the United States and beyond, throwing some major roadblocks in his competitive pursuits. Still, though, he’s managed to find competitive opportunities, and he’s not afraid of rolling outside his comfort zone. “It’s been tough ’cause I’ve been fighting the highest level guys, but the challenges help me grow and make me more hungry,” he says.
Steele is well aware of how these challenges can benefit him in both the short- and long-term, and he’s passing on what he’s learned on the mats to the students at Brazilian Fight Factory, where he trains. “I’ve definitely felt a lot of personal growth at black belt,” he says. “I feel my game is really starting to come together… and learning how to teach and help the students at BFF.”
As Steele approaches his match tonight, he’s going in with both humility and confidence, knowing he’s at his peak and ready to put on his best performance. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, physically and mentally,” he says. “I’m looking to just go out there and showcase all my hard work and show all the new parts of my game that I’ve been working on daily.”
This grappler is already well on his way to becoming a household name in the BJJ world, and he hopes to take his skills to the most elite grappling stage in the world: ADCC. He says he’s eyeing the Trials as his main focus, and from there, the next (obvious) goal is to win the championship. After that, he plans on starting his MMA career and in doing so, helping to highlight the efficacy of jiu-jitsu in a mixed martial arts setting.
Steele will be hitting the ground running after this match, and he has some advice for anyone who hopes to achieve the same success that he has so far in his career: “Consistency is key, keep your head down to work hard, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just focus on getting better and growing.”
Fight 2 Win 150 will take place tonight in Dallas, TX, and can be streamed live on FloGrappling.