Blake Harrison: Actor on his love of MMA and what he looks forward to in 2022 for the UFC | MMA News

“Everything you saw growing up in the 90s contained an element of combat and martial arts,” explains Between two star Blake Harrison as he puts it Air sports where his love of MMA began.

The actor, 36, presents The MMA Fan Podcast with co-host Stu Whiffen, who introduced UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, Tyron Woodley, Dan Hardy and Marc Goddard – but Harrison says he’s been “still interested in [Jean-Claude] Van Damme films ”, and that MMA’s resemblance to such productions prompted him to take an interest in the sport.

“Once I got to know MMA back in the Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes days… it was probably the closest thing I ever saw to being a true version of those movies that I loved when I was. child.”

Harrison says his interest in MMA was solidified by the reality TV series, The ultimate fighter. The show has served as a platform for several fighters to launch their careers, including UFC Hall of Fame members Forrest Griffin and Michael Bisping, as well as eternal fan favorite Nate Diaz.

“I started listening The ultimate fighter years later – I think it was the Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen series… and I was addicted to personalities. I really enjoyed Chael Sonnen, I thought he was a lot of fun. “

Known as one of MMA’s best talkers, Chael Sonnen’s personality in The Ultimate Fighter caught Harrison’s attention (AP)

Sonnen is recognized as one of MMA’s most notable orators and recently took aim at world superstar Conor McGregor, calling the Irishman a “rich little nutcase.”

McGregor is also a notorious talker and Harrison believes the former two-time UFC featherweight and lightweight champion will always draw an audience, especially if he takes on Dustin Poirier again.

“Conor will probably come back, won’t he?” Harrison said.

“Conor vs. Dustin IV maybe! No matter what you think of this fight and if you think Conor is going to be passed, this is a fight we are all going to fight for.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 10: Conor McGregor prepares to fight Dustin Poirier during his lightweight bout during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.  (Photo by Louis Grasse / PxImages / Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Although Conor McGregor has lost in successive fights against Dustin Poirier, Harrison believes a fourth meeting between the two would attract fight fans (Photo by Louis Grasse / PxImages / Icon Sportswire)

Harrison “loved every minute” of production The MMA Fan Podcast, a project born out of a conversation he had with Stu Whiffen following an appearance on the latter’s podcast, Off the beat and the track.

The show featured famous guests such as Lee Mack, who first watched an MMA fight during the podcast.

“We spoke to Kenny Florian, Angela Hill – real big stars in the sport,” said Harrison; Recent UFC debutant Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett, who marked his entry into the promotion with a first-round stoppage of Luigi Vendramini, also appeared on the show.

Paddy Pimblett celebrates after knocking out Luigi Vendramini in their lightweight bout at UFC APEX in September
Paddy Pimblett celebrates after knocking out Luigi Vendramini in their lightweight bout at UFC APEX in September

Additionally, Harrison has interviewed fighters from the UK-based Cage Warriors promotion and believes interim featherweight champion Paul Hughes “may soon be in the UFC.”

Looking ahead to 2022 in the UFC, Harrison thinks there are several interesting fights ahead but wonders if welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will be able to continue his reign, given Khamzat Chimaev’s seismic rise.

“It’s a guy [Chimaev] we all need to be extra careful – the hype seems to be real.

Khamzat Chimaev prepares to fight Li Jingliang at UFC 267
Harrison named welterweight Khamzat Chimaev as an exciting fighter to pay attention to in 2022

“Chimaev vs. Usman – if that happens – it’s going to be huge!”

Harrison expects a planned fight between former teammates Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane to be a good game. They will meet in January 2022 at UFC 270 to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion.

“The bantamweight division in general is amazing,” adds Harrison. “I’m a big fan of Cory Sandhagen, but Petr Yan is just something else. Looking at Petr Yan, we might be looking at the next dominant UFC champion.”

Petr Yan celebrates victory over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267
Petr Yan celebrates his win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267; Harrison thinks UFC could see the emergence of another dominant champion in Yan

Harrison is also excited about the prospect of a third fight between Volkanovski and former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. The pair faced off at UFC 245 and 251, with Volkanovski winning by decision in both meetings. Both results have been much scrutinized and debated by fans of the sport and following victories over Yair Rodriguez and Calvin Kattar in 2021, Holloway may have gotten in the running to meet Volkanovski for the third time.

Alexander Volkanovski prepares to fight Brian Ortega in featherweight title fight at UFC 266 (AP)
After successfully defending his featherweight championship against Brian Ortega, could Alexander Volkanovski meet Max Holloway for the third time? (PA)

“I know Volkanovski has a 2-0 lead, but no one is going to want to watch this fight. You will be connecting to Holloway against Volkanovski III – it will be a crazy fight!”

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