Eryk Anders: Tremendous Upside
‘I feel like if you go the distance then you should still always be hunting for the finish, my heart rate was barely up and I could’ve used cardio as a weapon’ – hindsight is a wonderful thing, and Eryk Anders left Brazil following his controversial loss to Lyoto Machida with the sense that he perhaps could have done more.
Unlike others though, Anders isn’t one to dwell too long over a loss – he explained that he moved past it far quicker than most would expect. ‘I got over it pretty quickly man, I’ve got a 24 hour rule – win, lose or draw, you can celebrate or sulk for 24 hours but after that, life goes on and you gotta keep moving and get ready for the next one’ he said.
The old saying goes that you win, or you learn and that seems to be the case for the Alabama native as among other things, he is now more in tune with how a fight may be scored from an outside perspective. ‘The biggest thing for me is how fights are judged because he was kicking my legs, but they weren’t significant strikes – but to the Refs and judges, that’s what got him the win. I had the knockdowns, takedowns and was more active. I was maybe a bit too patient, but I’ve learned lessons from that fight’ he recalled.
The fight was a close one that ultimately could have gone either way and unfortunately it just wasn’t Eryk’s night, ‘Obviously I think the most obvious round was round 1, I spent more of it on my back, he got that one. I think I got rounds 2-4 and he probably edged me out in round 5, I thought I’d won and his demeanour suggested he thought he lost. I think we both thought I won, but all that matters is what the judges think’ he explained.
It’s easy to forget that Anders is only eleven fights into what he hopes will be a long and successful career. The 31 year old is still one of the best prospects in MMA and has already amassed a winning record in the organisation, as well as a headline slot. Looking ahead to the future, Anders believes there is far more to come from him yet; ‘I have tremendous upside – athletic, powerful, hit hard, well spoken, I don’t think I’m a bad looking guy, I think I’m pretty marketable. I think Machida is just not the style for me, I like to box, I don’t want to have to chase people, it suits me if people wanna come forward and engage but it is what it is, he was the #12 ranked guy in the division so I was chomping at the bit to fight him’
Next up, Anders will face Tim Williams this Saturday night as part of the undercard to Justin Gaethje vs. James Vick. Williams is currently 0-1 in the UFC with a 15-4 record overall, and ‘Ya Boi’ will hope to get back in business with a win here; ‘We were supposed to fight in my second fight, but I’m almost certain he failed a test and so had to sit out then, I watched film on him then and I’ve studied him again now. He’s definitely the grappling type - I don’t think he has spectacular wrestling, his takedowns come from the clinch, so I plan keep my back off the cage and keep on my feet. I believe his chin is suspect, he tends to wear down in fights and so I’m gonna come out, push the pace and touch him up a bit’.
The layoff to this fight is one of the longest of Anders’ short career, but he feels the time off is only going to benefit him in the build-up to this one – ‘Tim Williams was first available and I’ll work my way back up. It’s a good thing in the long run, it’s an ego thing and you can want to get straight back in there, but the longer they wait, the better I get’ he said.
Without looking too far ahead, Eryk says he’d like to fight twice more this year, if possible, as he averages roughly 4 fights a year. Justin Gaethje is a fan favourite and so all eyes will be on the octagon this weekend – that means it will be the perfect opportunity for Anders to remind everyone just what all the fuss was about. ‘It’s like everything else - When you’re winning, the phones ringing and when you’re losing it all goes quiet – but that’s cool with me, I know how the game works. I gotta go out there, get my hand raised and hopefully collect a bonus’