UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath spoke to Bloody Elbow ahead of his UFC Fight Night 114 fight with Alejandro Perez to talk Mexico’s altitude, life after the Blackzilians, and training with GLORY champ Robin van Roosmalen.
UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath is set for his 2nd promotional appearance. He is slated to face Alejandro Perez, this Saturday night, at UFC Fight Night 114. Before jetting off to Mexico, Soukhamthath caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss the takeaways from his UFC debut, why the dismantling of the Blackzilians was a positive for him, and his top shelf training partner, Robin van Roosmalen.
Saturday’s UFC Mexico City main card will air live on FS1 at 10:00 P.M. ET, with the prelims starting at 8:00 P.M. ET, also on FS2. The exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 7:00 P.M. ET.
- After calling out the UFC, opportunity came a knocking in the form of a short notice debut:
“I was on my way to work and the guy I was working with at the time gave me a call saying, ‘hey, do you want to fight in Vegas at UFC 209 against Albert Morales?’ I was like, ‘when is it?’ He was like, ‘next weekend.’ I was just like, ‘I’m in; let’s do it.’ I had to cut like 18 pounds in like 8 days, but I did it. I toughed it out, and I put out. I left everything in the cage.”
- How many fights did you sign on for?
“I signed a 4-fight contract.”
- Were you upset with judges awarding Morales the split decision nod at UFC 209?
“He definitely controlled me in the 3rd round. I say the 1st round went to him, the 2nd round went to me, and the 3rd round I had him hurt, and that’s when my cardio kind of failed. I tried to put him away and I kind of gassed out. When you gas out in the cage like that, you make stupid decisions, and I just shot in on him because I felt like I had on the ground in the 2nd round. I was trying to secure the win, it wasn’t like I shot in because I was just tired, I was trying to secure the win. I kind of slipped and he reversed that takedown and took my back. He had my back for a good 3.5 minutes, so I’m not mad at the decision. I feel like I would have won the fight if I didn’t shoot.”
- You are now set to travel to Mexico City for UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno. Have you ever been to Mexico?
“No, but I’m working on my Spanish, baby. Vive Mexico! Como estas? Hola, me llamo Andre Soukhamthath, and I’m going over there to take over. I’m going to win over the Mexican fans. Alejandro Perez is good fighter. He likes to bang it out, and so do I. It’s going to be a great fight, and the Mexican fans are in for a treat. They are hardcore fight fans, and I’m excited to perform in front of them.”
- What have you been doing to prepare for the 5,000+ feet of elevation?
“I have been doing some preparation for it. I have a great nutritionist named Doug Kalman, he’s been around a lot of fighters, and he’s been a nutritionist for a long time. I have my strength and conditioning coach Dr. Corey Peacock; he kind of came up with a little plan with different supplements to take and a little nutrition plan that will kinds of give me an edge, and ready for high altitude that will open my lungs a little bit. I trust my coaches, and I’m just following their plan. I have a cool little tent coming in to get me ready, too, so I’ll be sleeping in there for a week, and then next week I’ll fly to Mexico. So, that’s basically 2 weeks at high altitude with me eating so good this whole camp. I think I’ll be prepared, and if I do gas out, I gas out. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight, though. I’m still going to fight”
- Facing TUF Latin America Season 1 winner Alejandro Perez:
“It’s a great fight for me because anybody who wants to standup is a good fight for me. I don’t care if it’s a Top-30 guy or a Top-10 guy. If you’re going in there already wanting to strike with me, that’s a win for me. That’s what I’m best at; that’s what I’m good at, and I believe I’m one of the best strikers in the UFC. I just have to prove it, and here’s an opportunity for me to prove it.”
- The last time we spoke, you were training with the Blackzilians, and since the team was dismantled, where are you training now?
“I’m training with a lot of the same training partners up in Combat Club. Henry Hooft started it; he brought along Greg Jones. I got the Burns brothers doing my Jiu-Jitsu, Gilbert [Burns] and his brother Herbert. I’m really taking the initiative of now focusing the camps and the training around me. Forget this team thing. I have my brothers, I have my teammates that are training hard and grinding. They want the same thing I want. Some of them want to be where I’m at, but everybody knows this is an individual sport. I was there; I was at the bottom of the bucket and had to work my ass up. It took me 4 years in Florida with the Blackzilians. Now that there is no more Blackzilians, I think that’s a positive for me, because now it’s Team Soukhamthath. So, I can really surround myself with the teammates and coaches of my choice.”
- Sharpening the tools with GLORY Kickboxing’s featherweight champion, Robin van Roosmalen:
“I have some good quality training partners that are down here with me, too, like the #1 kickboxer in the world, Robin van Roosmalen. He’s a GLORY champion, 2x, and I’ve been training my striking with him everyday. A lot of our coaches travel a lot; we have a lot of top level fighters that have fights, so sometimes they’re not always there for me. So, I pick up the phone, ‘hey Robin, let’s work together this camp. This guy’s a striker, he’s about your size, same height, let’s work together… You’re going to see another level come August 5th.”
- What is your prediction for Andre Soukhamthath vs. Alejandro Perez?
“I see myself finishing him in the 2nd round, but I don’t really like saying things like how, because then I’ll just end up trying to gun for it. It could be a flying knee, could be a body shot, could be a submission. If he can hang, if he can hang, then it’ll go to a decision, and I’ll win by decision, and I won’t be mad at that.”
Watch the “Asian Sensation” Andre Soukhamthath wage war with Alejandro Perez, at UFC Fight Night 114 from Mexico City, Mexico on August 5, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!