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Andre Winner: I’m going for Knockout of the Night against Anthony Njokuani (Exclusive Interview)
The Ultimate Fighter 9 contestant Andre Winner will look to bounce back from two consecutive losses (Nik Lentz and Dennis Siver), facing the three-time KO of the Night winner Anthony “The African Assassin” Njokuani. This time, Andre Winner wants to be the one who gets the bonus, in what could easily become as one of the most exciting fights at this Saturday’s UFC 132.
The fight between Andre Winner and Anthony Njokuani will be streamed live on UFC’s Official Facebook Page. We had an opportunity to speak to Andre about the fight, KO of the Night, his training in Montreal, and much more.
Hello, Andre! You have a big fight this weekend, against Anthony Njokuani at UFC 132. What can you tell about your training camp coming to this fight?
The training camp for this one went really well. There still were some ups and downs. Unfortunately, I had to change my boxing coach, but I was still able to get some quality sparring, and feel really confident in my striking. I also had an opportunity to train at the TRISTAR Gym in Montreal with all the big stars out there, not for too long tho, but it definitely had a very positive influence on my training camp.
So basically what’s left now is to cut weight?
Yeah, actually I’m cutting weight right now. That’s the only thing I have left, and it’s only around 5-6 pounds and that’s it. I might do some light workout during this weight cut, just to sweat a bit. My weight is pretty good, so there’s nothing to be stressed about.
You always seemed like a big Lightweight t me. What’s your regular weight? 170-175 pounds?
Sometimes I go even heavier than that. Sometimes I walk around 80-83kg (176-183lbs), but when I’m starting to cut weight it comes off quickly. I got a very good metabolic rate, so it’s not really a big thing to make Lightweight. I got skinny legs, so I think it helps.
What can you tell about your training in Montreal?
I had an opportunity to train with Georges (St. Pierre) last year, and it’s a fantastic experience. You really learn a lot by just being around fighter of his caliber. The whole gym in general is fantastic. We worked on some things here and there, so it really had a very positive effect on the final stage of my camp. Also, half of the reason I went over to Montreal instead of Vegas is to avoid jet lag. Montreal is on the east coast of North America, so having a few days there and then flying out to Vegas was a really good decision. The acclimatization process was really fast.
What’s the direction of your gameplan for Anthony Njokuani?
I’m going out there just to fight my fight. Anthony is a great striker, and in my opinion he’s one of the best strikers in Lightweight division. He’s using his physique really well with all the kicks and punches, so I really expect a tough fight against him. But I also believe in my skills, my training camp, I’m confident in my abilities and can see myself beating him anywhere inside the Octagon.
After two consecutive losses, do you think you’ll be fighting for your place in the UFC against Njoakuani?
Yeah, but every fight in the UFC is highly important. Theres no fight that you can go out there and afford to lose. That’s why there’s no additional pressure or any change in the way I approach this fight. It’s not like I won a few fights and then I can afford to lose some. That’s wrong thinking. I want to win every fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do this Saturday.
What’s the biggest thing you learned from your last fight against Dennis Siver in Germany?
Actually I found a lot of positives in this fight. I threw wrong combination from wrong distance and got caught with that. It was the first time I got dropped… ever. Not just sparring, but fighting as well. I learned to be calm, to follow my gameplan and not to be reckless.
You and Anthony are two explosive fighters, who always deliver exciting fights. Do you think about possibly getting Fight of the Night bonus against a fighter like Njokuani?
To tell you the truth, I don’t want to get Fight of the Night bonus. I want Knockout of the Night. I’m ready for a big war, but I’m also going out there to put him away. I want to knock him out. But again, I’m ready for anything in this fight, and will go in full force to get that “W”.
So I guess that’s your prediction for Saturday night? Knockout?
Yeah, exactly. I’m going out there to knock him out.
Would you like to mention any sponsors or pass a message to your fans?
Yeah, of course. I would like to thank my family, friends, sponsors and fans for making what it is. Big thanks to everyone who helped in my preparations for this fight. It was a great camp. Sponsors Revgear, Headrush, many thanks to them. Tune in this Saturday, it’s going to be a great fight!