Walt Harris has a simple request wish for UFC officials: give him back his spot back on Saturday’s UFC 216 pay-per-view main card.
Harris (10-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC), who’s going for his third straight win, meets fellow heavyweight Mark Godbeer (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at the event, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.
When the fight card’s order was initially finalized, Harris, a 34-year-old who’s in his second UFC stint, was slated to kick off the main card. Heavyweights don’t always get placed in that high-profile slot – why kick off a $60 PPV with a potentially slow and sloppy heavyweight bout, after all? – but Harris and Godbeer have combined for 19 knockouts in 22 combined wins. In fact, all of Harris’ victories are knockouts.
So, based on those past results, the fight is likely to produce some fireworks.
However, when the UFC added a second title fight to the card – a rescheduled UFC 215 meeting between flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) and Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) – Harris and Godbeer were demoted to the prelims with a featured slot on the night’s UFC Fight Pass portion of the card.
Yet, they could move again following the recent cancellation of two female bouts (Jessica Eye vs. Paige VanZant and then Andrea Lee vs. Kalindra Faria) that were slated for the main card. At least, that’s Harris’ hope.
“Well, from what I understood before Demetrious and Ray Borg (were added to UFC 216), I was on the main card,” Harris told MMAjunkie Radio. “So I don’t know where I am now. I know I went down (the card) when they added them back.
“So I don’t know, man. I’m down for it. I want a main-card fight because I’m looking to fight the best guys and (with) the best opportunities and best situations. … I want to beat (Godbeer) and then start going for the top-15, top-10 guys. I think that would be the perfect catapult for me – to get a main-card fight and get more exposure to show the world what I’ve been working on.”
Harris went 0-2 in his first UFC stint before rebounding with a Titan FC victory over well-traveled vet D.J. Linderman and earning a quick invitation back to the octagon. He thanks a stable of American Top Team regulars – Din Thomas, coach Conan Silveira and “best friend” Charles Rosa – for keeping him motivated and confident that he’s UFC-caliber, even when the former collegiate basketball player went bust in his first UFC run.
Harris is now 3-2 in his current stint – and he’s won two straight and three of his past four. So, what changed?
“In my first stint, it was kind overwhelming,” he said. “When you work so hard for something and you finally achieve it and it’s happening so fast, it can take you by surprise. And I think that’s kind of what happened to me.
“And I’ve also grown. I’ve matured. I’ve learned how to be a pro, how to train like a pro, how to live like a pro. So I think that’s all contributed to my success here lately in the octagon. I’m just trying to keep that mindset, that mind frame and keep winning and doing my thing.”
Now, he’s just hoping a PPV audience can see the new Walt Harris.
MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.view original article >>