Everybody needs motivators, and adversity is sometimes the best motivator out there. Just ask Andre Ewell.

Ewell has faced plenty of adversity. He has struggled to be a father for his son, Eli. This battle has been going on through his entire professional career, but the elder Ewell has been able to maintain his focus even in the face of adversity.

Ewell is 13-4 after just three years as a pro fighter. He is currently riding a four-fight winning streak. His most recent win was a submission of Dinis Paiva to snag the CES bantamweight title.

Ewell has been lobbying for a shot in the UFC, but that, of course, was not about to come without some sort of adversity. A few months after his last fight, Ewell found out that he would face former bantamweight champ Renan Barão on the main card of UFC Fight Night 137 on Sept. 22 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“When I ended up getting that call, frankly, the situation wasn’t that exciting, because of the downward spiral and stabbing people in the back that came with that,” Ewell told Combat Press. “The manager that I’m with right now, Matt Dodge, ended up taking me from another company, which was KO Reps. Basically, I only joined KO Reps because of Matt, and he decided to walk away from there. I followed. It opened up kind of a rift, because some managers wanted me to go the other direction, and I said no, because I wanted to go with Matt. I’m very loyal and faithful with a lot of things I do in life. When [the UFC] reached out, they actually reached out to the KO Reps organization, and they tried stealing me again from Matt, and that kind of went downhill for a moment, because I told them no.

“Everything got fixed out. When everything got finalized, I was excited, but it was hard to like pinpoint my emotions. It didn’t really hit me until I got one little essay letter written about me from a [friend’s daughter]. She wrote an essay about meeting me, and it had me all bawled up in tears. I was reading it at 2 in the morning in tears. Everything started to hit me right there. It was literally a week after me signing and everything.”

In some ways, Ewell just can’t catch a break. He had high hopes for getting at least visitation rights with his son, but that progress has stalled. Then, when he finally got his shot at the Octagon, it came with the muddy waters of a feud between managers.

The good thing is that he is used to this. It acts as just another dose of fuel on the fire as he prepares for his greatest career opportunity yet.

“I’m definitely excited, because [Barão] was ranked as one of the top pound-for-pound [fighters], and he’s the old king of the weight class,” Ewell said. “For me to come in and prove my point with that type of opponent is exciting and ends up bringing a big smile to my face. I’m a very exciting fighter, and I’m looking to add him to my highlights.”

Highlight-reel finishes have been the name of the game for Ewell’s career, and he has only been stopped once in his four losses. He is truly one of the rare fighters to deserve a main-card slot for his UFC debut. Fans certainly will not want to miss his performance on Saturday night. It’s been a long road of adversity to get to the UFC, and he is not about to waste this chance.

“I’m excited, but I honestly feel it should be the main event,” said Ewell. “I’m just throwing that out there to everybody that ends up listening. This is the main event. The reality is that after our fight, you can just turn off the TV. They don’t need to watch nothing else.”

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Manager

Dan Kuhl has been following MMA since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. He holds belts in multiple martial arts disciplines, and currently trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under a decorated black belt. Dan has an M.B.A. in Finance and Investment Management and a B.S. in Horticulture. Prior to joining Combat Press, his work appeared on The MMA Corner.

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