From no meals to a flawless victory on UFC debut, Carlston Harris’ dream turns reality
By Akeem Greene
Guyanese Carlston Harris made a memorable debut in the UFC, winning his contest against American Christian Aguilera by Submission in the opening round on Saturday evening. While he revelled in the joy of victory, he told the world his beginning was in no way easy.
Harris, a welterweight, won the fight 2:52 seconds into the first round at UFC Vegas 26. With the result, Harris is now on a four-fight winning streak and 9-1 in his past 10 bouts.
Prior to joining the UFC, Harris was competing in notable promotions such as Shooto Brazil and Brave FC, where he is based in Brazil.
Reaching the global stage was not easy since the 33-year-old from Skeldon, Berbice, indicated at the post-fight press conference, that sometimes during his early days in Guyana, he would not have meals to take to school.
His sister Vanelda Harris, speaking to News Room Sport moments after the historic victory, said: “We can’t be any prouder of Carlston. We expected nothing less from him because this is his dream come true. He works so hard every day and night and his discipline to his sport is incredible. He deserves all of this! He has worked for this and no doubt he will continue to do so throughout his career.”
Carlston expressed: “I grew up in a poor family, some days we woke up, nothing to eat, got to school sometimes and no meal.”
He added, “I grew up in a single-parent home and my mom worked as a housemaid. So, I got into this to change my life and change my family life and it feels great. I am so happy, it has been a long road until I get here and finally I got the chance to show my skills up there; I made news and I made a statement.”
The 33-year-old Harris snapped Aguilera down, locked him in a choke, and sat back to put Aguilera out.
Harris picked up the win with an Anaconda Choke, making him just the 19th fighter in UFC history with that finish.
“Back in my gym, we train a lot of submissions…the Anaconda Choke. So, I know that anytime he gives me this opportunity I would get this choke. When I got it, I feel it was tight and I said there is no way he could have gotten out of this but I was waiting on the ref because the ref told me in the locker room, just when I touch you, you let go. I was abiding by the rules.”
Harris, who is based in Brazil, started Martial Arts in 2011 and said he was inspired by B. J. Penn who battered Diego Sanchez in a fight, to join the UFC.
His advice to other young athletes seeking to make a name, is to believe in themselves.
“Practice sports and believe in yourself, believe in your dream, [and] work towards your dream and one day it will happen but you have to believe in yourself.”
The fighter said he will await a medical clearance before knowing when again he will enter the octagon since he might have injured his rib while going to make the take for the submission.
Also called ‘Mozambique’, Harris signed with UFC in late January of this year.