Las Vegas, Nevada — It’s been a while since we’ve seen UFC heavyweight Walt Harris in the cage, but that doesn’t mean he’s been away from the sport.
In fact, Harris was a big part of Jon Jones’ training camp ahead of UFC 285, where “Bones” will make his heavyweight debut.
The longtime welterweight champion even released a clip of him landing a throw on Harris during a workout — but “The Big Ticket” doesn’t mind.
“I got over 80% download rate. So I think that’s probably part of the strategy,” Harris said in a recent interview with Cageside Press. “I think he was like, ‘if I can do this to Walt, then guess what I’m going to do to Cyril?’
Jones faces Cyril Gane for the title vacated by Francis Ngannou earlier this year and Harris is clearly keen to see his team-mate perform.
“Saturday night is going to be epic. I’m so excited for the world to see him at heavyweight,” Harris said. “We spent a lot of time together on and off the mats; he is a completely different person. He’s a lot more mature now, man, and it shows in the cage. Saturday night is sure to be special.”
Outside of training, Harris also hosts self-defense and martial arts workshops aimed at children, hoping to help them recognize and prevent dangerous situations before they get into them. It’s a subject near and dear to his heart for obvious reasons: Anya Blanchard, Harris’ stepdaughter, was kidnapped and killed by a convicted felon in October 2019.
Although the case led to the passage of Alabama’s Anya Law, which allows judges to deny bail in various serious criminal cases, Harris didn’t stop there. He strives to stay engaged, interacting directly with children 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 will be. And it’s about protecting each other. It’s a community-based thing,” Harris explained of his UFC-partnered efforts. “If we can start them young, teach them young, we can protect this world. This is a dangerous place.
“I have another daughter and I always talk about different things with her. Knowledge is power. The more we spread the knowledge, the more Ania’s life shines,” he added. “Now it’s my wife’s mission to make sure we keep spreading the word and to make sure we stay diligent and do our part.”
Watch our full interview with UFC heavyweight Walt Harris above.