There’s no denying that the pressure was on for Andre Soukhamthath heading into his UFC Fight Night 123 bout versus Luke Sanders last December.
Soukhamthath was coming off of back-to-back losses and was seen as an underdog to Sanders, yet he was able to put everything together and come out with a second round TKO win.
“My last fight (versus Sanders) is was everything I’d worked for the last 11 years,” Soukhamthath told MMAWeekly.com. “I was just so happy that it ended that way. I got awarded a five-fight contract after that, so it was great.
Having a multi-fight deal and an eye towards things outside of MMA, Soukhamthath now is able to approach his fights with a much clearer mind as opposed to 2017.
“I’ve got to think that the UFC is another promotion to fight for – the biggest promotion and the best promotion – but it’s not my life,” said Soukhamthath. “That’s kind of how I think about it. I’m definitely in a better spot with a five-fight contract and not being 0-2. It puts me in a better state of mind.”
Soukhamthath (12-5) will look to pick up his second straight win when he faces Sean O’Malley (9-0) in a main card 135-pound bout at UFC 222 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
“Stylistically between the both of us, it has potential to be Fight of the Night,” Soukhamthath said. “The way we fight, we both bring it, and we both have great striking. (O’Malley is) ready to bang. I’m ready to bang. Let’s do it.
“I’m not getting finished. I keep my hands up. I have a good chin. All the fights I’ve lost, I’ve lost by decision. If he can handle my power maybe it will go to the judges, but I’ll tell you what, he’s not felt anything like my power at 135lbs. He might think he’s ready for it, but nobody really is.”
Now that he’s on the winning track, Soukhamthath is looking to make the most of his UFC opportunity so he can pursue the things in life he has outside of fighting.
“I have goals personally,” said Soukhamthath. “A lot of those goals they can happen as long as I do good in my career. It all comes together.
“As far as goals in the UFC, my biggest goal is continuing to win my fights and building my stock up. I want to keep building my name up and be able to get opportunities and make income instead of just fighting inside the cage. I want to win each fight and build myself.”