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Walt Harris vows to “make a statement” against Justin Willis

Walt Harris vows to “make a statement” against Justin Willis

  • Walt Harris TKO'd Sergey Spivac in just 50 seconds at UFC Ottawa
  • Harris details bad blood between him and Willis
  • The heavyweight also eyes a rescheduled bout with Alexei Oleinik
Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

“My word!”

That was the call from UFC commentator and former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping as Walt Harris (12-7, 1 NC) flat-out obliterated UFC debutant Sergey Spivac (9-1) in just 50 seconds in Ottawa last Saturday.

It was pure domination from the opening bell, as Harris swarmed the Ukranian and landed a bevy of punches and knees to the head of Spivac, toppling his previously undefeated foe.

Walt Harris, 35, says he can’t imagine a better way to add another win to his resume.

“You wanna get in there and take as little amount of damage as possible and come away with the victory, for sure,” Harris told The Body Lock. “I’m excited and happy about it.”

Another thing Harris has to be excited about is his incoming “Performance of the Night” bonus, the $50,000 dollar bonus awarded by the promotion to the event’s top fighters, of which Harris was one.

As for what the Birmingham, Alabama, native will do with the money, like a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, he’s going to Disney World.

“You know, I’m older now, so I’ve pretty much done all the cool things that I want at this point,” Harris said with a laugh. “I’ve got stuff for the kids; I’ll probably take the kids on vacation. My daughter wants to go to Disney World, so I’ll probably take her to Disney World.”

But while Harris is likely headed to the land of Micky Mouse and Donald Duck, he made it clear that there’s another destination he wants to check off of his list: Abu Dhabi.

I would love to get back in [the Octagon] as soon as possible, but, I mean, more than likely, if I had my ideal, I had my choice, I would love to fight in Abu Dhabi. I mean, that’s just always somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and see. It’s just beautiful, man, I mean I see pictures of the area, and I want to go to Dubai while I’m overseas.”

“It’s just a really, really nice place, and it’s growing really fast. It’s becoming more Westernized, so I’m definitely trying to get over there and sightsee and see what the culture’s all about.”

The UFC is heading to Abu Dhabi in September of this year for what is set to be UFC 242. In order to save UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard some effort, Harris has two names in mind for a potential Middle Eastern showdown: Justin Willis and Alexei Oleinik.

While Walt Harris and Oleinik have trained together in the past and are still friends, Harris details bad blood between him and Willis.

I just don’t care for [Willis]. His personality kind of rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know him personally, but I had an interaction with him, you know, on the Internet, I asked him… people kept tagging me and him in certain things and asking us to fight each other, so I extended the offer to him some months back, and he just kind of, the way he played it was almost like he was too good to fight me,” Harris said.

“In my mind, I was like, ‘You don’t even deserve to even act like that. I’ve had more fights in the UFC than you’ve had actual fights, you know what I mean? You’re acting like you’re some big shot.'”

Harris didn’t take too kindly to Willis’ brush-off, and he vowed to “make a statement” against Willis, should he get the fight.

I didn’t appreciate the way he kind of wrote it off, and the way he said what he said, so from that point on he was on my radar. I just really don’t genuinely care for him. I think he thinks he’s better than he really is. I don’t think he’s that talented, I think he’s just associated with the right people, that’s why he’s in the UFC.”

“But I promise you I’m gonna make a statement on him if I get a chance, for sure.”

Things would be entirely different if it were Oleinik, not Willis, standing across the cage, Harris says. He and the Russian have trained together before and remain friends to this day. However, Harris contends that that fight could do wonders for his career.

“I can say he’s my friend, you know, we’ve trained together for a long time, so that’d be a pretty fun fight for sure. I mean, it’d be a huge fight for me. Alexei has done a lot in the sport; he’s beat some really good guys, and, you know, for me, that would be a really good challenge: to test myself against someone like him.”

Walt Harris was scheduled to fight Oleinik at this past weekend’s UFC Ottawa event, but Oleinik was pulled from the event on short notice to face Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC St. Petersburg. Harris instead faced Spivac.

Though the fight with Oleinik was off, Harris made sure to tune in and watch his fight with Overeem. Harris says Overeem fought Oleinik the right way – the way he was planning on doing.

“It’s kind of funny. I mean, to be honest, Overeem was doing a lot of things we had trained for when we were getting ready for Alexei. Like, it looked almost similar to exactly what we had game-planned, you know, mapped out. I definitely think that’s a fight that’s winnable for me, and I think I know what I need to do to beat him, so yeah, I’d definitely like that fight next, for sure.”

Walt Harris has officially won two of his last three fights. His win over Andrei Arlovski, which would have made it three for three, was overturned to a no contest following a drug test failure of which Harris was later cleared of any wrongdoing by USADA.

That type of run, coupled with a potential win against one of the fighters above, should have Harris knocking on the door of the top ten, if not seated in it outright. And with a championship bout, Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2, slated for this summer, along with Cormier’s suspected, imminent retirement, Harris predicts the division will soon resemble the “Wild, Wild West”.

Harris is aiming at positioning himself right in the thick of things.

“I’m hoping to be in that conversation, man. I’m gonna bring some excitement to the division; a new face, you know what I mean? Nobody’s really seen me take on any of those top level guys yet, so I’m excited to test myself against those guys, and that’ll throw another wrinkle in the division, give some people some hope and excitement,” said Harris.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

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