Andre Harrison is en route to the biggest fight of his MMA career. Fighting on the stacked main card of WSOF35, Saturday, March 18 live on NBCSN, Harrison takes on reigning WSOF featherweight kingpin, Lance Palmer. A former Titan FC featherweight champ, Harrison is no stranger to competing under the bright lights of a title bout.
Harrison has enjoyed an unblemished run in MMA with a 15-0 professional record including an impressive debut at WSOFNYC with a 1st round submission of Bruce Boyington. Harrison will look to make it a “Sweet 16” at WSOF35 at the expense of Palmer. Considering Harrison is among one of the best up-and-coming fighters in MMA, odds are fans should expect an excellent title bout from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY.
Yeah I like fighting at home just because travel-wise, I don’t have to go too far. But I’ll fight anywhere.
David Branch is a recent WSOF champion that was also from New York. With a win against Palmer, do you see yourself ascending to that role of being a WSOF ambassador/champion from New York?
I would like for that to happen. That’s what we’re aiming for. So hopefully all goes well on the 18th and that’ll be the next step.
In a recent interview, you stated that you believed you’re the best featherweight on the WSOF roster. Why do you feel you’re the best 145-pound fighter inside the Decagon?
I mean why wouldn’t I believe that? A) I’m one of the few undefeated fighters on the roster. B) In my opinion, I could be very wrong about this, but I’ve fought the toughest competition on the roster. I just feel like style-wise, I feel like I have good striking, good wrestling and a good ground game. I feel like I’m the most well-rounded fighter on the roster. If I had to put money on someone I’d put it on myself.
You made your much anticipated WSOF debut this past December at WSOFNYC. Were you surprised that you were offered a title fight in just your second bout with the promotion?
Honestly I thought I’d have to fight another fight before I got Lance. But the whole goal is to win the crown, so we got Lance. We took that shot and ran with it.
Lance Palmer is a former Division I All-American wrestler and a two-time WSOF featherweight champion. How do you feel you match up with your opponent?
No matter who the opponent is, I feel like I match up well. I’ve heard Lance is strong, explosive and I think he mixes things up well. But I believe my skill set trumps his.
Are there any particular areas you’ll be looking to exploit in your fight with Lance? Obviously you can’t give away your whole gameplan but are there any aspects of his game that you’ll be looking to take advantage of?
There’s some things I can exploit but I can’t call them out now. You’ll see them soon enough.
One of the advantages you have over most title contenders in the WSOF is your experience. You’ve been fighting professionally since 2011 and had multiple title defenses in the Titan FC banner.
I know how to fight for titles. Nobody wants to go the full five round, however, I’ve had the chance to do that. So I’m comfortable going to the distance. In my last title defense you saw me able to push and move forward in that fifth round. So I know I can go for the full five rounds.
Lately, I travel a little bit when I’m not fighting. I’m looking to go to a couple of places. Even when I’m away, I’m a gym junkie. I never tell anyone if I go somewhere that I’m a fighter. I’ve taken the tutorial boxing classes at certain gyms and beginners grappling. I go and learn how other people do things and have some fun.
Are there any places that you’d call your dream destination for travel?
Probably Brazil. I want to go to Brazil.
You come from an amateur wrestling background. How did you get your start in wrestling?
We didn’t get an allowance when we were younger. One of the wrestling coaches bet me I couldn’t last a week in the wrestling room. I was like, “What a bunch of guys in tights rolling around on the ground? I’ll last a week and a half.” He said, “Nope just a week.” I don’t know what he told the guys but they legitimately beat the hell out of me every single day. My lip was busted up, my forehead was busted up. I stayed and made it through the week. Afterwards he gave me the $50 and said, “You proved me wrong.” I told him I’m staying here until i learn what they know so i can do what they did to me back to them.
That’s certainly an interesting way of breaking into a sport. How did you wind up competing in MMA?
One of my teammates in college, JT Hudson, was fighting at the time and he didn’t have any training partners. I told him I’ll throw on the boxing gloves and go a few rounds. When we were just boxing I felt like I was holding my own, even if I wasn’t, I felt like I was. But when we added in kicks, that was a difference maker. He started to lay in some kicks on me and I tried to kick him back when he stepped in to hit me with a hard left hand. I didn’t go down but I felt it. The next day when I ate cereal, I felt it. I decided to learn about that stuff to get him back. I didn’t get him back until right before my first amateur fight so I was hooked from then.
What would winning the WSOF featherweight belt mean to you?
It would do a lot for me. It’d be a big relief to show that all my hard work is paying off. It’d be big for me.