Heavyweight Walt Harris was in a jovial mood following his win over Aleksei Oleinik on Saturday at UFC San Antonio, and even brought a little local history to his post-fight interview.
San Antonio, TX — If your first reaction to Walt Harris following his win over Aleksei Oleinik was “what on earth is he wearing?” you wouldn’t be alone. Harris, who knocked out former training partner Oleinik in just twelve seconds at UFC San Antonio, turned up backstage decked out in a suit, topped with a coonskin cap.
“It’s an ode to the great, late Davy Crockett,” Harris explained, speaking to media members including Cageside Press. “He came to San Antonio and helped this great country, helped these great people of San Antonio, and he also killed bears with his bare hands. So the Russian symbol is a bear, so that’s what my goal was tonight, kill a bear with my bare hands, pun intended.”
Welcome to a new, more entertaining side of Walt Harris. Of course, the outfit was fitting, given that Crockett died fighting at the Alamo. And Harris did slay a bear, or at least a boa constrictor, in the form of Oleinik.
“I just wanted to channel my inner Davy, just go out there and attack, man,” he said of his performance. “It’s wild out there, it’s tough, tough terrain. I wanted to make sure I used all of my weapons, and we got the job done in twelve seconds.”
Tough terrain is one way to put it. Harris has finally put together a nice little win streak of late, but it was a rocky road getting to this point. “Rocky Road. That’s where Davy Crockett was born, in Tennessee.” Points to Harris for remembering history class. “It’s just perseverance. Davy persevered, I felt I had to preserve and keep going. And I’m here, man. I’m here in this moment. So thank you Davy.”
Asked if Crockett had always been an inspiration to him, Harris had to admit with a laugh that “I recently was inspired by my trip to San Antonio. I took a trip on the river walk, saw the hat, and it clicked. I said ‘that’s good stuff, I’m going to wear that.’ So yea, thanks Davy.”
Puns and joking aside, Harris should have earned himself a step up moving forward. “There’s a couple guys in front of me that I’m interested in fighting. [Alexander] Volkov is one,” he said. “I’d love to get the [Shamil] Abdurakhimov fight back, I feel like I won that one.” Ultimately, however, he’s not about to pick and choose. “I’m up for whatever. Who ever’s in front of me. They all can get it. I want to be the champion one day. I set a goal for 2020 to be in that conversation. So the next step, whatever the UFC puts out there, I’m going to get it.”
Following the knockout Saturday, Harris paid his respects to Oleinik, kneeling by his side while the fighter was still down. “I got a lot of respect for Aleksei. You never want to see anybody get hurt,” he explained. “I knew it was a good shot when it landed. And I was like ‘wow,’ and then I saw he was kind of slow to come to. I felt like ‘man, I’ve got to pay some respect to him,’ because I also heard that this might be his last fight. So shout out to Aleksei, thank you for taking the fight and giving me an opportunity.”
Watch the full post-fight press scrum with Walt Harris from UFC San Antonio (UFC on ESPN 4) above!