UFC 222’s Andre Soukhamthath spoke to Bloody Elbow ahead of his PPV main card matchup with Sean O’Malley to discuss his first ever UFC win, the source of his opponent’s hype train, his prediction of the outcome for this Saturday night.
After enduring consecutive split decisions losses in his first two UFC matches, Andre Soukhamthath finally found himself the winner’s circle following a TKO of Luke Sanders this past December. The impressive win earned Soukhamthath a new five-fight deal with the promotion, and he now looks to make it two straight wins as he takes on the undefeated and ultra-hyped Sean O’Malley on the UFC 222 PPV main card. Before heading out to Las Vegas, Soukhamthath caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss what it felt like to win his first UFC fight, the reason O’Malley is so hyped up, and predicts another second-round stoppage for this Saturday night.
Saturday’s UFC 222 main card will air live on Pay-Per-View at 10:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 8:00 P.M. EST on FS1. The Exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 6:30 P.M. ET
- How did it feel to finally score your first UFC win with a second-round TKO of Luke Sanders?
“Man, it felt amazing. It felt amazing. I can’t describe it really. It was just an amazing time, an amazing moment that I’ll never forget. I worked a long time to get that first UFC win. For me to get it the way I got it, with my back against the wall and the contract was on the line, it just felt good, man. It just felt good. After that, you can kind of say I kind of showed myself that I can really do anything, you know? I took that fight on two weeks notice.”
- The Sanders knockout earned you a new contract with the UFC, right?
“Yeah, I signed a five-fight contract!”
- Congrats on that!
“Thanks, bro. That’s almost unheard of. I lost two fights and I won one fight and all of the sudden they re-signed me. That just goes to show you that I think the UFC sees a lot of potential in me, too. I’m an entertaining fighter, I carry a certain swagger, a certain persona, and a lot of people are behind me and they know that. I’m very grateful for the opportunity, but like I said, I worked hard to get here and I definitely think that it was deserved.”
- Now you are headed to UFC 222 on March 3rd to face the undefeated Sean O’Malley, who punched his promotional ticket on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. What do you make of him?
“He’s a good fighter, there’s no doubt about it. He handles the pressure well because he’s a young kid, and he’s 9-0, but that’s the thing, he’s only 9-0. It’s easy to be a showoff when there’s 50 people in the room and Dana White and Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard are right there cageside. So, it’s easy to be a showoff; it’s easy to be seen.”
- Did you catch any holes in his UFC debut against Terrion Ware at the TUF 26 Finale?
“I thought he did well, man, for his first UFC fight. He was a co-main; he fought an experienced guy. Yeah, I saw some holes, but who doesn’t have holes or flaws in his game. I saw mostly positive things from him. His striking was on point, his accuracy was on point, and he proved that he can get a second wind and toughing out the fight and win the fight, so he showed his heart, too. So, I have nothing bad to say about his performances.”
- What do you make of his surging hype train?
“As far as hype, he’s getting a lot of hype from Dana White, from Snoop Dogg. I think that’s how he got most of his followers. You put two and two together, all of his followers are fake people. They’re fake; they really don’t know the sport compared to my followers, my fans. I have fans that were riding with me since I put my amateur gloves on, you know what I’m saying? We’re a strong army. We might be a little smaller than his, but in the end, if my army was to go against his, mine would last, because I have real people behind me. I got real love behind me. He just has a band wagon, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but you know, he likes to spark up a lot and he’s really into that stuff. That’s cool, but it’s not going to help him in this fight. He’s going to see who the real OG is, and it’s not his boy Snoop Dogg; it’s me.”
- Obviously, O’Malley likes to unleash some flash on the feet; are you going to give him the fight he wants, or will you pull an OG move and make him fight off the grind?
“Well, you know me by now, Eddie. I like to strike. I like to meet people in the middle. Whether I get hit or not, I like to strike. That’s why I’m really excited for this fight. That’s why I wanted this fight in the beginning, because I know that he’ll stand and strike with me, and it’ll be a good test for myself, and it’ll be a good opportunity to kind of build off of his hype. Look where this fight is going already. It’s a featured fight on the main card on a pay-per-view.”
- You have almost twice as many professional bouts as O’Malley; what do you make of the discrepancy in experience levels:
“Hey, I’ve put my dues in. I know I’ve put my dues in. I went through some ups and downs in the UFC, but I definitely put my dues in before the UFC. I can’t say the same about my opponent, Sean O’Malley. He hasn’t really put in the blood, sweat, and tears as much as I have.”
- How did this fight even come to be? Did you ask for him or did the UFC approach you?
“I didn’t really ask for him, I just mentioned him on a podcast, a friend of mine’s podcast. They asked me who’d I like to fight, and I was basically saying that me and Sean O’Malley would be a good fight. I named a couple of guys too, but I guess he stuck out. I was just saying it would be a good fight, an exciting fight, and then it got word to him and he started running his mouth a little bit, trying to put in those Asian stereotypes on the DL. I knew what he was saying, which is all good, then the fight happened. It was easy for the matchmakers to make this happen.”
- You called your second-round stoppage of Luke Sanders; what’s your call for Mr. O’Malley?
“I’m going to break him and then I’m going to knock him out. I think the second round too, man. Second round. All it takes really is for me to land one punch. If you’re still standing and I land a nice clean punch, if I land two, if I land three, it’s really going to catch up to you. He’s not going past the second round.”
- “Second Round” Soukhamthath. I like it.
“That’s nice, I like that too haha.”
Watch Andre Soukhamthath scrap with Sean O’Malley at UFC 222 on March 3, 2018. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!