British MMA fighter Andre Winner impressed many on the ninth season of the “Ultimate Fighter” reality TV series, defeating Santino Defranco via TKO in the quarterfinals, and tapping out Cameron Dollar in the semifinals. Winner faced fellow Brit Ross Pearson in the finale, losing via unanimous decision.
Winner is getting ready for a title eliminator bout against Diego Gonzalez on the BAMMA 8 fight card, scheduled for Dec. 10, at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England.
I recently spoke to Andre about his many experiences as an MMA fighter.
David: Why did you become an MMA fighter?
Andre: I became an MMA fighter because I was very into sports, I’m a competitive person by nature. It was something I would have probably gotten into earlier, but I just didn’t know how to get into it. When I met Paul [Daley] and Dan [Hardy], they kinda just showed me the path.
David: How devastating was it to lose in the TUF finale?
Andre: It was very devastating… I trained hard for the fight. I was really disappointed in myself because I felt I could have done better.
David: Some say British MMA isn’t on par with US MMA, do you think that’s true?
Andre: No, I wouldn’t say so. Obviously, the main thing we’re lacking is the college wrestling, that’s the main thing. If you look at the amount of people competing in MMA and the amount of schools you have out there, and the funding in the gyms and stuff like that, there’s a lot more that goes into it in the US than there is in the UK. But the UK is developing quickly. We have a lot of good fighters in the UK.
David: Who’s going to win, [Michael] Bisping or [Jason] Miller?
Andre: I thing they’re both really good fighters, but I think Bisping will win… I’m not even saying it because I’m a Brit, Mike’s very underrated. Even though Miller is a big guy, he’s very tough and well rounded. First of all [Miller has a] great attitude, but I think Mikes attitude, his tenacity, his drive, that will make the main difference. He’s got great cardio and work-rate. His personality will be the difference in the fight.
David: What do you think about Diego Gonzalez and your upcoming fight?
Andre: Honestly, I think I’m gonna win the fight. I’m gonna look to keep the pressure on him and get the finish between rounds two and three. Ideally, if I can come out and crack him and knock him out, that’ll be great, but a fight is rarely as easy as that. I think Diego is tough, he comes forward, he’s not scared to take a good punch and he has very dangerous jujitsu. It’s gonna be a tough fight, but I’m very focused on what I need to do. I plan on going out there and getting my victory.