UFC: Andre Ewell Wants to be the Dwayne Johnson of the Fight Game

Andre Ewell UFC
Andre Ewell, UFC 258 weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

UFC bantamweight Andre Ewell is set to return this July 24 when he takes on Julio Arce as part of the T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cory Sandhagen card.

When he does, hopefully things will be a little smoother than his start to 2021. Ewell (17-7) kicked off the year expecting to face Cody Stamann on February 6. A positive COVID-19 test pumped the brakes on that, although “Mr. Highlight” was able to compete a week later at UFC 258.

“Definitely didn’t like the COVID experience. Didn’t like it at all,” Ewell told Cageside Press recently, noting that his test was a false positive.

“That was a good fight for me [against Stamann], to put me on the map and all. Granted I’m already on the map, but this is where everybody would have noticed and know where I actually stand in this fight game. But I did get rebooked with Chris Gutierrez.”

That fight wound up going the distance. “It was a good fight with him,” Ewell suggested, adding that while he didn’t pick up the win at UFC 258, “it’s one of those situations that it was close.”

There are always lessons to be learned, win or lose, in fighting. When it comes to the Gutierrez fight, “Lesson learned is, always stick to your A-game,” Ewell explained. “A-game is striking, and the first round, I made that lapse, made the attempt of a takedown and walked into a kick. I know a lot of people think it was a knee, but it was actually a shin that I ran into. And they ended up giving him the round, which it shouldn’t have been that, I still should have had the first round, including the second round. Part of me felt like I did win the fight, but I understand it was close, and I do understand leaving it to the judges hands, it ends up happening that way.”

Especially, observed Ewell, when “most people get swayed easily when they see one exciting [sequence]. They end up forgetting the whole fight.”

Ewell thrives on that sort of learning curve. “I am a geek when it comes to the fight game. Anything I end up falling short on, I end up looking at it, breaking it down, and capitalizing.” That’s whether it takes a day or a month, Ewell stated. “My next fight, I’ll be completely different, a different fighter bringing something different.”

At the July 24 Fight Night event against Arce, Ewell will look to be a different fighter once again. He’s not looking too closely at his opponent, choosing instead to focus on himself. “Truth be told I haven’t really been watching none of his tape. I’m leaving that to my coaches,” Ewell told us.

I am a geek when it comes to the fight game. Anything I end up falling short on, I end up looking at it, breaking it down, and capitalizing.

“I have a game plan, and I’m going to make him adapt to me. I know he’s an ex-golden glove champ in boxing. And the head kick.” Everybody keeps bringing Arce’s head kick KO of Julian Erosa up, Ewell admitted. “That’s what I know so far, but everybody else, they probably know a lot more. Me, again, when we meet in the middle of the cage, it’s me making him adapt to my style.”

Talk of boxing these days inevitably brings up the recent Jake Paul-Ben Askren freak show, not to mention the upcoming Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather exhibition bout. Ewell himself has competed in the sweet science, and gave his take on martial artists crossing over.

“MMA going and crossing over to boxing, I actually do like it. Granted, I actually used to do it,” opined Ewell. “But you gotta think about it, a lot of these wrestlers, if they were able to go back and compete in a lot of wrestling events, you know they would. If they had pro wrestling, not WWF and everything, but wrestling as in competition, the majority of all the fighters now who made it from that, they’d go ahead and do it, if they were allowed.”

A lot of jiu-jitsu based fighters, Ewell noted, still compete in BJJ tournaments. Those who came up through boxing “should be able to compete on the boxing side.”

Boxing’s more of a phase, and they’re making a lot of money, Ewell added, but jiu-jitsu is on its way up as well.

No discussion of Andre Ewell’s fighting career can be had without mention of the bantamweight’s son. For years, Ewell has been fighting to be in his child’s life, victim of a bitter custody dispute.

“No progress has been made,” said Ewell on that front. Though he is thankful to Jon Anik for putting the spotlight on his case, after Anik mentioned the situation during the UFC 258 broadcast. “I ended up getting reached out to by a lot of people that are going through the same thing. And that could sympathize on the situation of what they’re going through and what I’m going through. So nothing but points to Jon for that.”

The progress he wants is not there, Ewell added, “but there is progress every time that I’m in front of the camera and they end up showing my face. And I’m able to get there and speak on it. That’s one takeaway on that end. Very touchy subject, but time has passed, and I was able to weather the storm.”

It is very frustrating situation, noted Ewell, who noted his issues with the court system, and likened it to policing in America. Sure, some cops are good, but there are a lot of bad ones. Likewise, “some courts are good, but the majority of them are bad. A lot of fathers get the stick up the bing-bang for no reason.”

Ewell’s son, Eli, remains his inspiration for fighting. And the next step, said Ewell, is to “become the man that I was supposed to be. Dominate the fight game. Get looked at, be a vision, be somebody that, if I ask, they can’t deny. I want to be the Dwayne Johnson of the fight game.”

He just needs to lay the smack down come July.