UFC Vegas 45 on Saturday will mark the final UFC event of 2021 as Heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus will compete. On the prelims, Andre Ewell is set to make his return to the octagon, while moving up to 145 to fight Charles Jourdain. I had the opportunity to interview Ewell. ahead of this fight and here were his responses.
Andre Ewell (17-8 overall, 4-4 in the UFC) is set to make his Featherweight debut on Saturday against Charles Jourdain. Ewell has picked up notable wins during his tenure in the promotion, notably beating Renan Barao, Anderson Dos Santos, and Jonathan Martinez. However, 2021 has gotten off to a rough start for Ewell, who has lost to Chris Gutierrez and Julio Arce in his last two outings.
Charles Jourdain (11-4-1 overall, 2-3-1 in the UFC) made his UFC debut back in 2019. He picked up his signature win seven months later, knocking out Doo Ho Choi. A fighter with a fan-friendly style, Jourdain was in an all-out war back in March of this year, where he earned a third-round stoppage of Marcelo Rojo. However, coming off of a submission loss to Julian Erosa, Jourdain will be looking to get back in the win column on Saturday.
Danny Podolsky: First off, how did this fight with Charles Jourdain come together and how has training been going?
Andre Ewell: Truth be told, I’ve been checking him and his style out since last year when I was still a bantamweight. When he fought Korean Super Boy [Doo Ho Choi], I became a super fan of his and I knew that our styles would create a good fight. It’s funny that now that I did move up, [Charles] Jourdain is the first guy that they matched me up with so I’m viewing this as a win-win.
Podolsky: Have you been planning on moving up to 145 for a while?
Andre Ewell: Oh yeah I’ve wanted to move up; basically since the day I since into the UFC to fight Renan Barao, I already knew that I did not like cutting weight. I sacrificed a lot to get to 135. When I say sacrifice, I’m talking using a sauna 2-3 weeks prior and changing the way that I eat. The last I ended up taking in almost no nutrients and when I do, nine times out of ten I’m throwing it up. It was literally damaging from the inside to make 135 so moving up was definitely the right decision.
Podolsky: You’re 5’11” with a 76-inch reach so you’re certainly not undersized for Featherweight. Do you wish you had moved up sooner in your career?
Ewell: Definitely. There were two fights where it just should have been me moving up. When I fought Chris Gutierrez, that was a fight that I should have moved up. Granted, we did a catchweight at 140, but the game plan had been to fight Cody Stamann. However, that fight with Chris was what truly allowed me realize that I should not be at 135, I gotta move up to 145 where I still keep my power.
Podolsky: A lot of fighters after they retire talk about regretting not moving up during their careers. Paul Felder has talked about how he wishes he had moved up during his career. Do you think more fighters should consider cutting less weight?
Ewell: Yeah for sure and granted, I wish I had done it sooner. It’s the right time and all eyes are going to be on me. This is where I can make a debut that people will remember, and not on one of those cards that people will end up forgetting. It’s the last card of the year and all eyes are on me and this fight has potential to be fight of the night or fight of the year.
Podolsky: You’ve finished 11 of your 17 pro wins with 7 KOs and 4 subs. When looking at your game, do you consider yourself to be stronger on the ground or in the standup?
Ewell: I’m definitely stronger as a striker. And then no matter what, my ground game is getting better. I know a lot of people might not end up seeing that because I don’t put it out there, but I have good wrestling and scrambling. I know Charles Jourdain has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but I move around with a lot of black belts so I’m not too worried about his ground game.
Podolsky: I know before you got into MMA, you fought as a professional boxer. What caused you to make that transition over to MMA?
Ewell: Truthfully, my mom let me know and said that moving to MMA was the direction I needed to go. Initially I ignored it because I was into sports. I was into football, basketball, track, and I was good at all of those. Fighting I only did when I had to. But eventually, I realized that this was the path I had to took and in MMA there are more openings of what I can do in the cage. When I started, I said in two years I would be in the UFC. Two years later, I was in the UFC with a smile on my face.
Podolsky: I know you also fought in CES and became a champion there which is close to where I am from. How does the California regional scene compare to the New England regional scene?
Ewell: I would definitely say that the east side is really competitive. I fought twice on that, one against Patchy Mix and another against Dinis Paiva. So I’m 1-1 in the East, but granted in that fight with Patchy Mix, I had a pulled rib, but it is what it is. By the time I fought [Dinis] Paiva I made some big changes that I was able to show off and the next thing you know, I was in the UFC. In the Eastcoast, people who choose to fight are usually completely committed whereas out here in California, there are more opportunities to do things.
Podolsky: I know you’re from Anaheim, but this fight will mark your fourth straight fight at the UFC Apex. How frustrating is it fighting in an empty crowd and are you looking to get on the UFC 270 card which is targeted to be in California?
Ewell: If I can, I definitely want to because that’s literally my hometown. I was born in Anaheim. Like, I want to pitch for the Los Angeles Angels just one time. But if I don’t get on that card, I could try to slide in if someone’s fight drops out, but clearly I have to get the job done here first before I can think about anything else. Even if I don’t get on the card, I will definitely be there at the fights because one of my teammates Jasmine [Jasudavicius] is fighting. So I gotta show her support there, especially if you’re coming into my house.
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