Last year’s season of “The Ultimate Fighter” was quite intense. As usual, the winner would earn a six-figure contract with the UFC. However, national pride was also at stake as the fights had a “United Kingdom vs. United States” theme.
The Head coaches Michael Bisping (United Kingdom) and Dan Henderson (United States) fought at UFC 100, where Bisping suffered a devastating knock- out loss. Regardless of the loss, Bisping managed to coach the UK team to success with Ross Pearson winning.
Although Pearson was impressive, many believe that Andre Winner was the stand-out fighter in that season. Deadly in the stand-up and proficient with his submission game, many believe that Winner was the next Ultimate Fighter.
Although it wasn’t to be, he is still fighting for the UFC. After his convincing knockout of Rolando Delgado at UFC 105, Winner now looks to take on Cole Miller at UFC Fight Night: Florian Vs Gomi.
I interviewed winner about his training with Michael Bisping, his experiences on “The Ultimate Fighter” and how he’s preparing for his fight with Cole Miller.
Aundre Jacobs : I know this is a bit late, but congratulations on the knockout of Rolando Delgado. Many people including myself were impressed by the way you fought. How did you prepare for the fight and what sort of training did you focus on mainly?
Andre Winner: For the Delgado fight I do what I normally do and that is train everything. My coach Nathan comes up with the game plans but for this one we kept it simple, keep it standing, look for the right hand and don’t get tied up in the clinch that much and the fight went pretty much to plan.
Aundre Jacobs: Delgado is known for his submission skills and I believe that in your first three fights you won by submissions. Obviously, your striking skills were a lot better than Delgado’s, but were you confident with your grappling skills compared to Delgado or did you want to keep the fight strictly on your feet?
Andre Winner: My first three wins aren’t really by submission. I submitted one opponent with a triangle choke and I think the other two were verbal submissions. I wanted to keep the Delgado fight on the feet where I felt I had the advantage. I was not scared of the fight going to the ground as I train with some good grapplers and I can hold my own if it did go to the ground. It may have been a tougher fight but I am confident I would have been able to deal with it and still win the fight.
Aundre Jacobs: How was your experience on The Ultimate Fighter?
Andre Winner: TUF 9 was a great experience. I would do it all again and it has done wonders for my life. I enjoyed the training, made some new friends in the house and I definitely feel that I am a better fighter. I found myself more as a person because of the whole experience.
Aundre Jacobs: Did you gain any valuable experience training with Michael Bisping?
Andre Winner: There was the odd move that I took from training with Mike, but the thing which impacted me most was how hard he worked.
Aundre Jacobs: Your fight with Ross Pearson was pretty awesome, but do you look back at and think there are things that I could’ve done better?
Andre Winner: I don’t feel as though I performed well in the finale against Ross. There are a lot of things which I trained for that I should have done better but did not. However, losing that fight has definitely helped me to become a hungrier fighter.
Aundre Jacobs: Would you like to have a re-match with Ross, because I think a lot of people thought that you were the guy to win The Ultimate Fighter for that division.
Andre Winner: The final was seen as a bump in the road, but I am still the guy people believed would win it and go on to bigger things and I will hopefully prove that in my future fights. Myself and Ross spar together all the time so I’m not fussed about a rematch. He is my team mate and I want to see him go on and do well. The only way we would fight again was if it was for the belt or some sort of life changing amount of money.
Aundre Jacobs: Your next fight looks as if it’ll be against Cole Miller. How is your training going and are there any aspects of your game that you think are stronger or weaker than his?
Andre Winner: Yes I am fighting Cole Miller next. It should be a tough challenge, but so far training has gone well. I am already feeling sharp. Cole has a dangerous ground game so I have been preparing myself for that. He also has improved on his boxing, but I still feel like I am the better striker and wrestler.
Aundre Jacobs: If there’s anything else you wanna say then like feel free man. Thanks again for answering the question – you’re a true legend.
Andre Winner: I would just like to say thanks for all the support and continue supporting myself, Team Rough House and all the the UK fighters.
Here’s a link to the Andre Winner Vs Rolando Delgado fight
The Ultimate Fighter Finalist