UFC heavyweight contender Walt Harris says his goal is to win the UFC heavyweight title and then retire from the sport without defending it.
Harris takes on Alexander Volkov this Saturday at UFC 254 in a high-profile heavyweight bout between top-15 contenders. Harris is the No. 10 ranked fighter in the division while Volkov is No. 7, so this is a massive fight for both men as they look to inch one step closer to a title shot against UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. It’s worth noting Volkov is the betting favorite for this fight against Harris according to the sportsbooks.
In Harris’ last outing, he suffered a TKO loss to Alistair Overeem that snapped a four-fight losing skid. But that fight was the first outing for Harris following the murder of his daughter Aniah Blanchard. So despite getting stopped by Overeem, the UFC decided that it was appropriate to match Harris with another top-10 opponent in Volkov despite losing his last fight. With a win over Volkov, Harris will move one step closer to the title.
Speaking to UFC.com, the 37-year-old Harris said that his goal in the sport is to still become the UFC heavyweight champion. But he plans on retiring after he wins the title.
“I’m gonna get it (the belt) and I’m leaving, I’m done. I’m not even gonna defend it. I’m just gonna win it and I’m out,” Harris said.
Despite the TKO loss to Overeem, Harris doesn’t feel like he’s that back from the race in the UFC heavyweight title picture. A win over Volkov and he’ll be back in the title picture, as far as he’s concerned. With the heavyweight division as open as it’s ever been, Harris is right to believe that one big win could shoot him right back into the title talks.
“I think this fight is huge for me because coming off the loss to Overeem, I wasn’t set back much. I’m getting an opportunity to beat Volkov and put myself right back in the mix. It’s almost like nothing ever happened with Overeem. I look at it as a blessing. I get an opportunity to keep my name relevant and keep my name in the mix and keep chasing that title that I so desperately want. So I’m excited. I’ve been training my butt off for so long for this and I’m ready,” Harris said.
Do you think Walt Harris still has what it takes to win the UFC heavyweight title?