You only get one chance to make a first impression, and for UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, his octagon debut was not the showing he wanted to make on the world’s biggest stage for MMA.
“It still bugs me, still eats at me every day. I still dream about it,” Harris told MMAjunkie Radio of his decision loss to Jared Rosholt at the TUF 18 Finale. “I still think about that fight and what I could have done differently, what I could have done better. Until I get a ‘W’ and get it out of my mind, it’ll still be there.”
While it could be argued “The Big Ticket” didn’t look horrible in his first UFC fight last November, it also could be argued he didn’t look great, either. Critics said his cardio and defensive wrestling came into play.
So it might make sense if Harris (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) focused on those areas for his upcoming fight against Nikita Krylov (15-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC on FOX 10 this Saturday. But the 30-year-old said that wasn’t the case.
With the experience of fighting in the UFC already under his belt, Harris has a better feeling of what it takes to be successful in a live contest, which has translated into training all areas of his game equally so he’s prepared for anything that comes his way.
“Going into my UFC debut, it was just training,” Harris said. “But now that I know what it’s like to be in there, be in that situation, now I can go into training and use that knowledge and get better.
“I’m trying to get better, move on and develop my career. I just want to get back in that ‘W’ column.”
The fight with Krylov takes place on the preliminary portion of the UFC on FOX 10 fight card and streams on UFC Fight Pass from Chicago’s United Center ahead of additional prelims on FOX Sports 1 and a main card on FOX.
Krylov is a fighter who also experienced cardio issues in his UFC debut prior to suffering a third-round stoppage loss at the hands of Sao Palelei.
Perhaps both men can point to UFC debut jitters for their first efforts, but Harris assures fans there won’t be any problems with fatigue in this fight – at least on his end.
“You can’t come out and blow your wad there in the first round, or you’ll get destroyed,” Harris said. “I’ll definitely try to push him into deep waters if it gets that far and take advantage of some openings I saw in his game.”
The match will mark the second fight in less than two months for Harris. It’ll be a much quicker turnaround than the 11-month layoff he dealt with going into his fight with Rosholt.
Despite the fact his training camp clashed with the holiday season, Harris had no complaints about getting another UFC fight so soon and did not hesitate when offered the bout.
“Everyone was all for it,” Harris said. “Everyone was kind of down about missing the holidays, but it’s our job, so we’ll go right back at it.”
Harris expects that despite the quick turnaround, fans will see a much better version of him than just a few months ago, and he fully anticipates the same to be said for his opponent.
Harris’ UFC debut was memorable for all the wrong reasons. His sophomore effort will be a much different story, though, because regardless of how Krylov shows up, Harris thinks he is on the cusp of a breakthrough performance.
“I just want to go in there and make [the UFC executives] proud and let them know they’ve got a heavyweight that’s going to be there for a while.”
For the latest on UFC on FOX 10, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.