Imagine you are all dressed up. You are wearing your favorite suit or tuxedo. The car is cleaned, prepped and ready to go. However, you have no party and nowhere to go. Think about how that feels. If you can put that into perspective, now imagine you’re an MMA fighter without any fights lined up. Such is the case with Andre “The Bull” Harrison.
Andre Harrison has not fought since his title defense at Titan FC 35 back on September 19, 2015. During the event, Harrison was able to win over the judges after 5 hard rounds to come away with a desicion victory. He retained his featherweight title and eagerly waited for the next fight. However, the next fight never came. Instead, Harrison has been placed in a holding pattern. New York Fighting reached out to Harrison in an attempt to find out his current status in the fight scene.
During our conversation, Harrison discussed what has been happening in regards to his career. To begin, Harrison was initially informed that there were a few Titan FC cards (December and January) that were supposed to take place after his bout, however the events never came to fruition. According to Harrison, the cancellations were rumored to be due to health concerns of one of the owners. As a result, Harrison, being an exclusively contracted fighter, has been unable to fight. “I’m contracted to fight. So if they don’t have a card, obviously I’m not fighting.” When pressed further for his thoughts on this matter, Harrison said that he contacted representatives of Titan FC to get an update. He was informed that the organization planned on hosting six events for 2016, at which point Harrison revealed his optimism for the upcoming bouts. “That [information] makes me relatively happy. Because, at least I know there are 6 shows. God willing, everything alright and I’m healthy, I’ll be able to fight on at least 4 of them. And that should make me really, really happy.”
So what does a fighter do in a situation such as Harrison’s? Well, Harrison does what Harrison does well (besides fighting) and that is train. “I know most people say that ‘I’m in the gym all the time’ and ‘I work out all the time.’ In all honesty they are not really training all the time. But I am that guy that actually [goes and trains]. I am in the gym all the time.” As a method of keeping himself ready to go, Harrison has been supportive of his teammates by participating in their fight camps. “I have a lot of teammates that are 145[lbs.] or 155[lbs.]. I’m helping them, and I’m in their fight camps. While in their fight camps, I have to eat clean. I have to train on the regular basis. I have to do my cardio to make sure that everything is up to par so I can give them the best workout they possibly get.” As a result, Harrison feels that he is ready and willing to go on a moment’s notice. In addition, Harrison feels the only drawback is not having a specific opponent or date in mind. However, always keeping the mind of having the “glass half full,” Harrison has made it apparent to other organizations that he is ready should they require his services.
Harrison has not only trained to maintain his physical readiness, he’s hard at work on the skills that make for a well-rounded fighter. When asked how he would fair against the featherweights of the other organizations, Harrison’s response was laced with confidence. “Because of my skill set, I’m a tough match for anybody.” As a three time All-American collegiate wrestler, Harrison feels that he has a good ground game and solid defense. Harrison also indicated that in addition to his wrestling background, his striking has helped him dictate the course of his fights. “If you’re a solid striker and you are doing better than me in that department… I can take you down on the gate. If you’re doing better than me on the ground, I can use my wrestling to stop the takedowns and keep it on the feet where I can use my striking.” Simply put, Harrison’s philosophy is “pure adaptability.” Harrison’s confidence also flows from his work with fellow teammates who have competed at high levels within the other organizations such as Dennis Bermudez and Levan Makashvili.
It was impressive to hear that “The Bull” has not let the layoff time go to waste. When asked about any weaknesses he felt he needed to address, his response was, “I work on everything. You can’t really pick one thing because the name of the game is mixed martial arts. So if you develop one art over the other that leaves you kind of out there where somebody comes in with the skills set that might be problematic to you.” Harrison believes to really own up to the craft you may not necessarily have something that you’re great at, but you have to be good in every single area. As a result, Harrison doesn’t prioritize which skill set to further develop. “I want to make sure that I’m a solid striker on my feet. I want to make sure that I have a solid ground game. Therefore, I can go out there in be diverse and be problematic for anybody in any position.”
Judging from the conversation, you get the sense that Andre Harrison has invested a lot of time and energy to get this level; a level that a few could ever imagine achieving. However, with no fights on the horizon and the promise of a few in the distant future, Harrison is a ball of energy that is ready to explode. Like the samurai of old who trained in times of peace as well as war, Harrison is busy honing his craft and sharpening his sword. He is waiting like a samurai who anticipates that call to arms. According to the laws of physics, energy is neither created nor destroyed, but merely transferred. If that is the case, woe is the opponent that faces this well-dressed young man with no party to go to.
Update: Andre was recently booked to defend his featherweight belt March 4th against Steven Siler at TitanFC 37
Written by contributor Jacques Blaine
Editor: Kyle AntonelliTags: Andre Harrison, Fight News, Mixed Martial Arts, New York, TitanFC, UFC Fight Pass