UFC 216 is packed full of great fights on Saturday night and one of them is the heavyweight contest between Mark Godbeer and Walt Harris.
Both Harris and Godbeer are coming off the back of wins earlier this year and both men are looking to make inroads on the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. Godbeer was last in action back at UFC 209 in March when he defeated Daniel Spitz via a unanimous decision. After a small layoff due to an injury, Godbeer returns this Saturday and speaking to MMAUNO.com exclusively this week, Godbeer explained he’d used his time away from the action wisely.
“Mentally and physically I’ve had a great camp,” Godbeer said. “Especially mentally, I feel more mentally prepare for this fight than I have done any other. I think in the first two fights I let the whole occasion get to me. I can’t keep using that as an excuse though and I know that. I even won my last fight. It’s great to be going back to the same place where I’ve been before. I know what to expect. I know what the people are like, I know what the arena is like.
“It feels like I’m fighting in a familiar promotion now. I’ve always been at my best when I’ve felt settled and having now had two fights in the UFC, I feel like I’ve settled into everything. I’m nervous, of course I’m nervous, but I’m actually looking forward to the occasion now rather than dreading it.
“I honestly can’t wait to get in there on Saturday.”
Not Underestimating Harris
Godbeer’s opponent on Saturday is a man to be messed with. Harris has won three of his five fights in the UFC and is coming off the back of wins over Chase Sherman and Cyril Asker. Godbeer has done his homework though and he says he’s well aware of what Harris brings to the table.
“There’s no denying that Walt Harris is a good fighter,” Godbeer said. “I think in the UFC rankings he’s going to be top-20 or something like that, I’m not 100-percent sure. He’s powerful guy, we’ve already seen that. He’s got ten wins and ten knockouts. I’ve got twelve wins and nine knockouts so it’s ten KO’s vs. nine KO’s. Looking on paper there’s not much difference between me and him, but I would say one of the things that let me down in my last fight and being able to finish by opponent was m conditioning.
“This time I’ve worked so hard on my conditioning and I know it’s going to be a key factor. He’s a southpaw, so that’s a bit awkward, but I’m prepared for everything.
“It’s the UFC, you’ve got to be prepared for anything that can come at you.”
Winning The Mental Battle
The former BAMMA heavyweight champion is physically gifted, but times past it’s his mental state of mind that has let him down in the cage. Godbeer believes he’s finally got it all worked out and that he’s ready to put a run together under the UFC banner.
“Self-belief and confidence is what I was lacking before,” Godbeer said. “I believe there’s a fine line with being arrogant and being confident and I think there’s a very fine line. In this game, at this level, I think you have to have a certain amount of arrogance and I think you have to be able to big yourself up and tell yourself that you belong here. Before I think I just doubted myself a bit. Now, mentally, I feel so much more prepared for this fight. I don’t believe, I know that I belong in the UFC and that I can make big waves in the UFC.
“I’ve got everything I need to put myself right in the mix.”
“I’ve sat down and went through a long period of thinking to myself whether I truly belong here or not. I looked at the other guys in the division and I just thought to myself, out of all the divisions in the UFC, the heavyweight division is the one where it’s most open. It’s really open for anyone and it only takes a few wins to really get yourself up there. In this division anyone can win a fight with just one perfectly timed strike because we’re that powerful.
“Now I’ve got my head right, there’s going to be no stopping me. On Saturday I’m going to prove it to everyone.”
Ready To Show His Class
The heavyweight division can often be a case of one shot, one kill, but that’s not Godbeer’s gameplan heading into Saturday. The British heavyweight says he’s going in there to showcase his technical prowess and prove to everyone that he’s a fighter of the highest calibre.
“I don’t want to just go in there and brawl my way to a win,” Godbeer said. “I want to go in there, pick my shots and prove to everyone that I can technical win. I want to go in there with my gameplan, implement it and then technically win the fight. After that I’m going to keep going, keep winning and keep working my way up the rankings. I can’t wait to say to everyone, ‘I told you I belonged here, I did it.’ That starts on Saturday and I’m can’t wait to show everyone what I’m truly about.”