During the week of June 15th, Andre Ewell traveled to Lincoln, Rhode Island to accomplish a few business goals. Late into that Friday night he accomplished his mission when he submitted the hometown favorite Dinis Paiva in the third round to capture the CES bantamweight championship. Ewell walked away with the belt and many more fans on the different side of the country. The California native had a great night and has had many recently as he has won eight of his last nine fights to improve his record to 13-4. But the 30-year old fighter has had to overcome many tough nights to get here and he continues to battle for what is truly important to him.
“Afro Monkey” Ewell started fighting in high school, not at an MMA gym but at school. He was often picked on because he was the new kid at school at times which made him the target. He fought back but eventually learned it wasn’t worth it.
“My family taught me only fight when you have to.”
“Defending yourself or anyone that picks on your family or your siblings, then you have to do something.”
The California native didn’t only use his athleticism to fight in high school but he mainly used to excel on the football field and track. In high school, Ewell said he ran a 4.2 (high 4.2) forty-yard dash and he ran the 100 in 10.4 seconds (the fastest official time I was able to find on time was 10.86). For comparison, the record for the forty yard dash at the NFL combine is 4.22 by John Ross in 2017 and the world record for the 100 meter dash was set by Usain Bolt in 2009 at 9.58 seconds. Ewell said he had an offer to go to UCLA on a full scholarship for football and track but wasn’t able to because of his grades. Instead, he went to community college for a year with the hopes of getting his grades higher and being picked up by a university.
However, a chance encounter with his idol Roy Jones Jr. inspired Ewell to pursue a career in boxing. He had a few fights that didn’t go his way and then his son was born. His son became his life but he and the mother of the child had a falling out. He went to court hoping for custody of his son but was denied. The feeling had Ewell feeling empty and made him feel he didn’t have value. So he made a life change and decided to pursue mixed martial arts. He believed if he could find success in the sport, it would prove to the court that he had value and could provide for his son.
He also learned a lesson from his battles in court that he applies to his fight career, never leave it in the hands of the judges.
“The majority of all my fights I always call it, it’s going to be by knockout. Why, because the whole fight I’m trying to knock you out. Or I’m going to end up saying it’s a choke cause this whole thing I know you’re going to keep shooting so I’m going to go ahead and choke you out. It’s one of those things I push for because if it goes to decision I already know I’m leaving my life in another person’s hands and it can’t go in my favor.”
“Like Dana says don’t leave it to the judges. By going to the court cases, with my son I left it in a judge’s hand thinking that I was going to get something and I ended up getting nothing. So like I said, growing up, raising to the point that I’m at the age of thirty I ended up leaving. It’s peaking time, it’s peaking hour. For me it’s only going uphill.”
Throughout the challenges he has faced, Ewell has worked hard to stay positive and he gives his mom a lot of credit for helping him do that.
“I’m going to end up giving a lot of credit to my mother. There was a moment when I wanted to be bitter but my mom changed me, it was a hard time. It wasn’t me in a right state of mind, broken it just gave me those moments I had to honestly find myself and pick myself up. And honestly do something that benefiting something for the future. And me smiling, even if it’s forced smiling or me waking up angry, believe me I do wake up angry, I wake up sad, I wake up with different type of emotions cause I’m human. But those moments it just gets me that I can’t be this. I’m a true believer that the more negative thoughts you believe the more negative things happen, the more positive thoughts the more positive things happen.”
Now, the Apex MMA/Impact MMA product is turning his focus into turning his message of wanting a shot in the UFC into reality. Specifically, he wants a shot on the UFC 227-fight card in his backyard, Los Angeles. He believes he has earned his shot.
“I am the best bantamweight in the world right now. I know me just throwing it out there is words to people. I truly believe this, I worked my butt of to show this and anybody thinks otherwise better be open to a challenge. I challenge every bantamweight, heck I even challenge every 145er.”
“Right now, I feel I’m the top dog.”
He feels so confident because of the level of opponent he’s faced so far in his career.
“I ended up fighting three tough fighters this year. I fought back to back three tough fighters. In February I fought Gustavo (Lopez), following into March I ended up fighting Trent. And those two right there were UFC bound. Gustavo was trained at Miesha Tate’s gym and under her, he was supposed to walk into the UFC after he defeated me. I ended going and destroying him in the first round, no disrespect but that’s the outcome, I did what I did. Trent (Meaux), ended up being one of the toughest guys out, after he beat me, he was supposed to walk on, like really great competition, points out to him, also taken another tough fight, respect, I defeated him the same way I defeated Gustavo, just saying. And now, I went to someone else’s home, put on a hell of a show, a hell of a show. It was a back and forth, I ended up taking t from their champion.”
“Now I should be walking on, I even defeated a UFC vet (Willie Gates), I should be walking on.”
“Eventually they’re going to want me there and when they do, it’s going to be the biggest show that they end up having, it’s going to be the most exciting thing.”
And he has a very specific message and pitch for UFC President Dana White.
“I’m waiting by my phone Dana, Call me!”
Did I get the call? 🤷🏽♂️ to be continued.. but I do know I’m just sitting by the phone, waitin for the phone to ring 🎤#BuddyPowell 😅 @danawhite on my line. @ufc needs a little bit of the #AfroMonkey to change it up 😎… @koreps 👍🏽 – – -#mma #taekwondo #wrestling #boxing #brazilianjiujitsu #muaythai #DaiisWorld #AfroMonkey #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #fitness #motivationqoutes #hardwork #dedication #MainEvent #fighter #dragonballsuper #healthybodynutrition #100percentviolence #hbn #nikerunning #nikeplus #bruceleeamaster #kingofthecage #LFA #cesmma
165 Likes, 24 Comments – Andre Ewell (@daii42) on Instagram: “Did I get the call? 🤷🏽♂️ to be continued.. but I do know I’m just sitting by the phone, waitin for…”
“I’m the show, I am Mr. Main Event, you need me on that card, I’ll bring excitement, people are going to love me. “
“I am part of the new wave, actually I’m not part of the new wave, I am the wave, that’s my pitch to Mr. Dana White.”
I promise you, I love what I do. I’m the new wave 😎… 😎 #AfroMonkey 👍🏽 @dynastymma & @100percentviolence – – -#mma #taekwondo #wrestling #boxing #brazilianjiujitsu #muaythai #DaiisWorld #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #fitness #motivationqoutes #hardwork #dedication #MainEvent #fighter #dragonballsuper #healthybodynutrition #100percentviolence #hbn #nikerunning #nikeplus #bruceleeamaster #kingofthecage #LFA #hardworkanddedication
136 Likes, 8 Comments – Andre Ewell (@daii42) on Instagram: “I promise you, I love what I do. I’m the new wave 😎… 😎 #AfroMonkey 👍🏽 @dynastymma &…”
Though a UFC contract won’t make him truly happy, Ewell explains that MMA alone isn’t enough, the true goal is to get his son back in his life.
“Without MMA, I would say no. Cause I’m not at my goal yet, my goal is to get my boy, I’m going through a court case right now. So if I have my boy, when I get my boy in my hands, then I can go ahead and say I can say I accomplished, I’m ok, I’m happy and all that other stuff.”
“MMA is what’s keeping my mind on a straight path, keeping me focused, not doing something not doing something that’s gonna keep going back into a place where I have no options, that darkness, I don’t want to know that. Till then, I’m still focused, hungry, still working hard, still over here pushing myself.”