Andre Ewell is scheduled to make his second octagon appearance of the year on July 24th against Julio Arce. The UFC bantamweight is anxiously awaiting another opportunity to put on a show for the fans, as he seeks to become “The people’s champ”.
The Riverside, California native signed to the UFC in 2018 after he secured the CES MMA Vacant Bantamweight Championship, in what was his fourth consecutive stoppage victory. In his debut, “Mr. Highlight” faced and defeated Renan Barão, who already had 14 UFC fights under his belt at the time. Ewell has always been one to keep active, so much so that in 2017 he competed seven times, going 6-1. Ewell is chomping at the bit to get back in there on July 24th in what will mark his eighth octagon appearance.
Andre Ewell Interview
“I’m super excited,” he said, “You know with my last performance a lot of people liked it, some people thought I won and since February my goal was to fight seven times this year. I think even if I would’ve won the fight I still wouldn’t have gotten the seven fights, but it’s definitely exciting.”
As far as this particular matchup with Arce is concerned, Ewell is determined to not allow his opponent the luxury of being comfortable in a new weight class.
“I didn’t check much on the guy yet since they gave him to me, but I do know that he used to fight at (1)35 before he came to the UFC,” Ewell explained. “He lost twice to Brian Kelleher and then he has two losses in the UFC at (1)45 so now he’s supposed to come down to (1)35 where his normal weight class is and basically try to spark his career. I’m the wrong opponent to do that against though.”
Andre Ewell is the type of fighter that genuinely feeds off the energy of a live audience. Unfortunately, for the third straight fight, he’ll have to manifest his own energy in the cage because it appears likely that his UFC Vegas 31 fight will take place at the APEX Center with no crowd. Ewell yearns for the day where he can once again put on a show in front of cheering fans.
“Man I’m aiming to be the people’s champ like some people don’t get that when I say it,” he said. “Like Cali, I’m like their people’s champ, I’m from Riverside/California ya know. Now I’m trying to do it in front of the world so fighting in front of a crowd is everything. Like I said, I’m a crowd-pleaser no matter how you look at it my style is for the crowd. My excitement, my action, and what I bring to the table is for the crowd, it’s not for the enclosed and private arena. I want the people to be in sync with me when I’m going at it, that’s how I am.”
“Mr. Highlight” isn’t just a nickname for Andre Ewell. Rather, it’s a lifestyle and an embodiment of his quest to become one of the most memorable showmen that mixed martial arts has to offer.
“I’m trying to be like a Max Holloway,” he stated, “That’s why I’m such a fan of his because he’s always exciting and for the people no matter what. Like even (Jose) Aldo. I’m bringing Aldo up because, like many Brazilians, he’s a black belt in BJJ, but when do you ever see him try to take somebody down? For being a black belt you’d think he should have a highlight reel full of submissions, but nah he became a black belt just to get up.”
In his previous outing against Chris Gutierrez, Ewell came out on the wrong end of the judge’s scorecards in what was an incredibly close fight. Like most top-level athletes, Andre Ewell took it as a learning experience and something to improve from.
“Put it like this,” he began, “I have an A-game which is striking, and in that fight, I clearly ended up changing to plans B/C. B being my wrestling and C being my Jiu-Jitsu. At the end of the first round I ended up going for a takedown, which I was clearly winning the round, but people switched to his side because of the flash knockdown. Me making an attempt of a takedown, I ran right into the knee/shin. Then the second round he ends up kicking, I catch his foot and end up flipping him in the air for a takedown and I jumped on it.”
“So instead of me striking which could’ve changed the outcome of the third round,” he confirmed, “I ended up going to my C game (Jiu-Jitsu) for a heel hook. I tried to finish the fight instead of grounding and pounding. So what I took from it was stick to the A-game unless I just flow into a situation. At the end of the day, you have to play the game that comes naturally and that you’re used to.”
33-year-old Andre Ewell jumped directly into the professional ranks upon transitioning into MMA in 2015. Skipping the amateur circuit allowed him to rapidly amass a solid resume, but Ewell would be the first to tell you that he still has a lot to learn.
“I won’t lie to you,” he continued, “Since I didn’t do the amateur route, I’m still learning. At the end of the day, you have people who have been grinding all day to develop their style and system while being an amateur. I’m still building up a style and system for myself. Like I already know I’m very aggressive, I know I’m fast, and I know I hit hard. So for me having all that pro experience is definitely great, but if I could go back I’d develop myself as an amateur.”
Andre Ewell on Open Scoring
“I would say yes to this, but I feel like it only works if the fights are close,” he affirmed. “I want you to think about it like this: If you have open scoring during let’s say a three-round Conor McGregor/Dustin Poirier fight. Conor wins the first two rounds and everyone can see on the screen that he’s winning. You can bet your ass that he’s going to be playing it safe in that final round. Now instead of feeding into the crowd, he’s coasting to ensure he gets his hand raised. Now you’re taking away action from the fans because they wanted to see full-on excitement at all times.”
“Or where it could be work is say it’s one-one heading into the third round. Now, everyone knows the third round decides the outcome of the fight so they’re both gonna go at it. They can’t play it safe or you’re gonna lose the fight and that’s half your purse. Yeah, so there are pros and cons to it. Maybe only have it for title fights.”
Andre Ewell takes on Julio Arce at UFC Vegas 31 on July 24th in what’s sure to be a barn-burning bantamweight bout. Make sure to tune in because if “Mr. Highlight” is fighting you can fully expect fireworks!
If you enjoyed reading this Andre Ewell interview, be sure to check back for more exclusive conversations with the world’s best mixed martial artists.
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @RyanTruland for all my content. Also, follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to keep up with all our work! Please visit our web page to read everything related to MMA!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images