UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath is heading into his third UFC fight, as he steps in on short notice to face Luke Sanders at UFC Fresno this Saturday night. Soukhamthath has been on the wrong end of razor thin split decisions in his first two promotional appearances, and hopes to return to his winning ways with a victory over Sanders. Before heading out to California, Soukhamthath caught up with Bloody Elbow to detail the agony of losing close fights, why he feels his last opponent cost him Fight of the Night honors, and “The Asian Sensation’s” official prediction for this weekend.
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123 main card will air live on FS1 at 10:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 8:00 P.M. ET on the same channel. The exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 6:30 P.M. ET.
- Chasing that 1st UFC win following back to back split decision snubs:
“I’m trying to chase that first UFC win. I’m living the dream of fighting in the UFC, but it’s still incomplete. I want to stay in the UFC; I want to retire from the UFC, and I need a win. I’m chasing that first win for sure, man. Yeah, those two split decision losses hurt, especially the last one, but I’ll bounce back, I always do.”
- Walking away with only one paycheck after dropping a split decision to Alejandro Perez at UFC Mexico City back in August of this year:
“I felt like I won the fight. I was really confident after the fight that I won, but when I heard his name get called, my heart just dropped. I wasn’t mad, I was more sad than anything because right to my head I’m like, ‘damn, again, so close but I didn’t get it. I’m coming home with one check.’ Obviously when you fight, you’re fighting for two checks, you lose you only get one check, and that’s the first thing that came to my mind. That really made me upset, not just because I let myself down, but I let my family down; my kids, my wife, the people who really have to sacrifice a lot dealing with a fighter. So, that one hurt.”
- The big takeaway:
“Forget about putting on a show; forget about gaining more fans. You’re going to draw fans anyways by the way I fight and the way I win, and I’m going back to that mentality. That’s more important than winning this fight for me.”
- Do you think part of the reason you lost the split decision is because you fought a Mexican in Mexico?
“That could be. I’m never the type to make excuses, but if you look at it that way, if you watch the fight, I obviously won. He didn’t really do anything to me. He got one takedown and he must of rode me for about 45 seconds before I got up. He was on top of me also in the second round, and I also got up that time, but he didn’t take me down; I actually slipped throwing a knee. On the standup part, he landed a couple of leg kicks, but that’s it. He didn’t land any clean shots on me. I obviously dropped him three times; so that means I landed clean shots. I was pressing forward, the kind of guy I am. I wanted to show I was game; I wanted to show I was tough, and I wanted to put on a show. I wanted to get $50,000 for that Fight of the Night bonus. He didn’t want it. He fought smart, he fought scared, he ran around and he got the decision.”
- Do you believe Perez is the reason you didn’t get the Fight of the Night bonus?
“Absolutely! Absolutely! If you look at the fight, I was going forward the whole time. I was saying like, ‘c’mon c’mon.’ I was trying to edge him to engage with me. I wanted these fans to like me; I wanted the Mexican crowd to go crazy. We’re in Mexico! You know what I’m saying? Mexican fighters, they don’t care, they go in there and they give it all they got, and that’s what I was expecting that night. Maybe it’s my fault, because that whole camp I was picturing a Mexican style fight, and I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get the win either.”
- Luke Sanders was originally scheduled to fight Bryan Caraway; how did you get selected to step in?
“Sanders is a tough guy. I asked for this fight when I saw that Caraway pulled out. It’s nothing personal. It’s not that I wanted to fight Luke Sanders, I just wanted to fight. I’m being treated right now like an 0-2 guy, because I am 0-2, so when I asked for something, when I asked for Fresno, when I asked for Boston I didn’t get it. So I saw an opportunity here to ask for a fight, and they gave it to me.”
- The last time we spoke, you talked about piecing together your training camp. Same routine this go-round?
“Let’s be real here, I have a little less than two weeks to prepare for this actual fight. The main things I’m focusing on right now, me and my coaches, am I training the right way. Make sure I train smart, but at the same time making sure I’m training hard so that I’m getting that push, that extra push this week. Nothing specific, of course we got some gameplans; we got some things up our sleeve, which I need, because I’m not always the smartest fighter. I’m always the toughest fighter; I’m always an entertaining fighter, but I’m not always the smartest fighter. Maybe I need some of that.”
- What is “The Asian Sensation’s” official prediction for UFC Fresno?
“I expect myself finishing him in the second round. That’s what I see; that’s what I’m focusing on seeing. I see myself being in very bad positions too, like getting rocked, or getting clipped, or getting taken down. The guy’s got mean ground and pound, man.”
Watch Andre Soukhamthath scrap with Luke Sanders at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega from Fresno, California on December 9, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!