Las Vegas, NV — It’s been a while since we’ve seen UFC heavyweight Walt Harris in the cage, but that doesn’t mean he’s been far from the sport.
In fact, Harris was a big part of Jon Jones’ training camp ahead of UFC 285, where “Bones” will make his debut at heavyweight.
The longtime light heavyweight champion even released a clip of him landing a throw on Harris during training — but “The Big Ticket” doesn’t mind.
“I got an over 80% takedown rate. So I think that was probably part of the strategy,” Harris told Cageside Press in a recent interview. “I think he was like ‘if I can do this to Walt, than guess what I’m going to do to Ciryl?'”
Jones takes on Ciryl Gane for the title vacated by Francis Ngannou earlier this year, and Harris is clearly fired up to see his teammate perform.
“Saturday night’s going to be epic. I’m so excited for the world to get to see him at heavyweight,” said Harris. “We spent a lot of time together on and off the mats; he’s a whole different person. He’s so much more mature now man, and it’s showing in the cage. Saturday night’s going to be special for sure.”
Outside of training, Harris has also been hosting seminars on self-defense and martial arts geared at kids, hoping to help them recognize and prevent dangerous situations before they enter them. It’s a subject near and dear to his heart, for obvious reasons: Aniah Blanchard, Harris’ stepdaughter, was abducted and murdered by a convicted felon in October 2019.
While the case led to the passing of Aniah’s law in Alabama, which allows judges to deny bail in a variety of serious criminal cases, Harris hasn’t stopped there. He’s looking to stay involved, interacting with kids directly to help them navigate a world he knows all too well can be dangerous.
“It’s about information, man. The more we know, the better off we’ll be. And it’s about protecting each other. It’s a community-based type thing,” Harris explained of his efforts, which the UFC has partnered on. “If we can start them young, teach them young, we can protect this world. It’s a dangerous place.”
“I have another daughter and I’m always harping on different things with her. Knowledge is power. The more we spread the knowledge, the more Aniah’s life shines,” he added. “It’s my wife’s mission now to make sure we continue to spread the word, and make sure we stay diligent and do our part.”
Watch our full interview with UFC heavyweight Walt Harris above.