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After learning ‘there’s still good in the world,’ Walt Harris eager to get back on track at UFC 254

ABU DHABI – Walt Harris’ last loss was tough on him emotionally, not only because of the outcome but the circumstances.

In May, when he returned from a brief MMA hiatus while still mourning the death of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard, Harris (23-8 MMA, 6-7 UFC) lost to Alistair Overeem by strikes in Round 2. Through the experience, Harris learned positive lessons about humanity.

“I learned a lot about myself,” Harris said. “I learned that there’s still good in the world with people. I heard a lot of great responses from that fight. Specifically, people (reached) out to me saying how grateful and thankful they were for me even getting in there – how much it inspired them to keep pushing through all the things that they’re going through – especially with the world being the way it is right now with this pandemic. That really touched me. It really picked me back up. I got back in the gym literally like two weeks later. I was right back on the horse.”

Approximately five months later, Harris will return to action when he takes on Alexander Volkov (31-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 254. The fight takes place on the pay-per-view main card and is one Harris sees as a potential stepping stone toward the upper echelon of the division.

“It’s perfect,” Harris said of the matchup. “It’s still a big name. That was another blessing in the loss to Alistair. I was kind of concerned about my standing. I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I’ve worked so hard to get here.’ Literally, this fight puts me right back where I was. When I beat him, I’m still in the mix, and I’m still pushing toward that title.”

UFC 254 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card streams on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN 2/ESPN+.

Check out Harris’ full UFC 254 pre-fight news conference in the video above.

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