Rising Middleweight Luke Harris: Friday’s Bout With Edwin Dewees is “Biggest Fight Of My Career”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After five years of professional fighting, former Canadian National Judo Team member Luke Harris continues to match the expectations that have surrounded his MMA career, and as a result, the rising fighter could be a win or two away from securing a UFC contract.
Standing in the middleweight’s way, however, is former UFC competitor Edwin Dewees, who will face Harris (8-1) at the Maximum Fighting Championship’s latest event Friday night. A win over the 50 fight plus vet would certainly go a long ways in making Harris’s presence felt internationally.
“It’s huge,” Harris told FCF, while discussing the importance of his fight Friday in Edmonton, which will be broadcast live on HDNet. “This is definitely the toughest opponent to date and the biggest fight of my career. I’m really excited about it and really looking forward to it. Stylistically it’s a fight that can really showcase my skills.”
“A lot of it’s timing,” Harris added. “I’ve been fighting for almost six years now and my record is sort of falling in place. I’m winning these fights and I’m ready to get on a bigger stage. I’m 34 years old, age is part of it, but that being said, I’m getting better and more fit every year. I feel like I’m really peaking, so timing wise it’s just the right time.”
While Dewees (37-15) is coming off a submission loss to Jacen Flynn last July, and is 2-3 in his last five bouts, the 29 year-old veteran has battled many of the sport’s more established fighters throughout his decade plus career.
“I am aware of his skills, but his record is a little bit deceiving,” Harris acknowledged. “He has over 50 fights and thirty wins by submission; all my wins are by submission as well. I’m not really sure how it’s going to play out. Maybe he’s not going to want to go to the ground and will just want to stand and bang. It’s exciting. I think I’ll be able to show more skills in this fight”.”
Not only have all eight of Harris’s pro wins come via submission, all of them have come in the first round. While the Judo black belt and BJJ brown belt’s ground skills are well documented, Harris says he understood from early on that he needed to improve his striking skills in order to reach the upper tiers of the sport.
“When I first got into MMA I sort of learned on the fly in terms of my striking,” said Harris. “Back then I was just primarily a grappler. Now I really would consider myself a true mixed-martial-artist. I train my striking everyday; I train my boxing, I train Muay Thai, it’s a big part of my game and it’s becoming one of my strengths…I’m definitely ready now for a bigger step than I would have been a few years ago.”
Harris, who is one of the co-founders of Hayabusa equipment and clothing, continues to train out of the company’s highly regarded facility in St. Albert, Alberta.
“Some of the guys helping me get ready are Mitch Clarke, he’s fighting at UFC 149 in Calgary, Ryan Jimmo has been part of it, he’s actually been away training with the Blackzillians and Nick Penner as well,” Harris said.
“There’s some really talented fighters coming out of Edmonton,” Harris added, while discussing the presence MMA has throughout Central Alberta. “Tim Hague just resigned with the MFC, Ryan Ford in Bellator, there’s a lot of names coming out of this city.”
Of course, Harris is hoping to add his name to the growing list of Albertan fighters, who have competed internationally or have stepped into the Octagon.
“We just have a one fight deal with the MFC,” Harris reported. “That being said, I have a good relationship with them and if this fight goes as planned and the UFC doesn’t pick me up, I plan to fight with the MFC again. Guess I’ll be a free agent.”