Walt Harris has quite the opportunity ahead of him at UFC 232. “The Big Ticket” is slated to fight former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski on the preliminary card headliner of a pay-per-view marked by the return of Jon Jones, who fights Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch of arguably the greatest light heavyweight title fight of all time.
Harris plans on taking full advantage of the prominent card placement and the stature of the man he’s fighting.
“Honestly, I believe [Arlovski’s] had his time,” Harris told MMASucka. “He’s been around a long time and I feel like it’s my time to show the world who I am.”
Harris is looking forward to the striking match that will almost assuredly play out between the two. However, the former Jacksonville State University basketball player feels it’s his athleticism that will net him the ‘W’ against Arlovski.
“Not to sound cocky or anything but I feel I’m the best heavyweight in the division,” he said. “I’m bigger, faster and stronger than Arlovski and I feel like that’ll show on the 29th for sure.”
“This is the perfect opportunity for me to jump into the top-15”
Harris feels a win over Arlovski will put him into a good spot going into 2019. Arlovski is the No. 13-ranked heavyweight in the world, so it gives Harris a chance to break into the top-15.
“I’ve been working my butt off for awhile and I’ve been in the UFC for so long,” he said. “This is the perfect opportunity for me to jump into the top-15 and show I can become a household name.”
Over Arlovski’s career, the “Pitbull” has wins over Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Ben Rothwell, Roy Nelson, Tim Sylvia and Travis Browne. So it’s no surprise Harris believes a win over Arlovski would mark his biggest to date.
“No question,” Harris said.
Harris enters the bout on a one-fight winning streak courtesy of his knockout of Daniel Spitz. But sandwiched in-between that win and his finishes of Chase Sherman and Cyril Asker were a couple of hard-luck losses.
Harris fought one of his idols in Werdum on roughly three hours’ notice after Derrick Lewis pulled out of his scheduled bout with “Vai Cavalo.” Werdum submitted Harris early in the fight, but Harris feels it got his name out there since he took a fight with a former UFC champion on extremely short notice. In his next fight, Harris appeared well on his way to stopping Mark Godbeer before he landed an illegal kick and was disqualified. Harris views the Arlovski fight as a chance to right the ship.
Switch to camp back home
Harris said he’ll be entering this fight on the back of what he called the best camp of his career. He changed gyms from American Top Team to Spartan Fitness in his home of Birmingham, AL. There, he trains with UFC middleweight Eryk Anders and gets the one-on-one time with coaches he wanted.
“I surrounded myself with people with the same ambitions and job I have,” Harris said. “Being at a big gym and being around a bunch of guys is good to a certain extent but you lose that personal attention.”
With his training settled, Harris is looking forward to taking on Arlovski.
“I see me stopping him in the first round,” Harris said. “It’s going to be fun, man. I’ve followed his career. I respect him outside of the cage, but when the cage door shuts, I’m going to work for what’s mine.”
UFC 232 goes down on Dec. 29 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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