Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former UFC light heavyweight contender and new Bellator acquisition Corey Anderson shrugs at a superfight in his old division.
“You’ve got [Santos] and Glover [Teixeira] fighting this weekend, which is [No. 1] versus [No. 3], which would be a title contention fight in the UFC,” said Anderson, who on Thursday makes his Bellator debut against Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 251. “But why in the world would you book – the same week that fight is booked, you book [Adesanya] vs. [Blachowicz]. Now that means the winner of this fight next weekend just has to wait, or fight someone else, and the way the UFC works, if you decide to wait, they’re going to try and push somebody in front of you that’s willing to fight one of the top guys. And if you don’t wait, you go out there and fight, you can take the chance of losing, like I did against Jan Blachowicz.
“That’s just the way the cards fall in the UFC. It’s about what’s going to make them the most money. It’s not about what makes the most sense.”
Anderson was in the running for a title shot when he took on Blachowicz in February. He’d campaigned for a shot at the belt, repeatedly targeted then-champ Jon Jones, and made a statement by knocking out hot prospect Johnny Walker in his previous performance. But when he was knocked out by Blachowicz, he saw all of that momentum disappear – along with any leverage heading into negotiations for a new contract.
Seven months later, Anderson is the latest high-profile talent to depart for Bellator, and Blachowicz is the UFC light heavyweight champ after capturing the belt Jones vacated amid his own financial dispute with the UFC. It’s unclear what the future holds for the winner of Santos vs. Teixeira with a superfight on the horizon.
Anderson, though, feels like it’s a new beginning in his career.
“Being in Bellator, I get to take me back to the way I fought when I got here,” he told MMA Fighting. “The way I fought was just to win. My coach in college always told me, ‘You don’t go out there to win lackadaisical, you don’t go out there to win by one point, you don’t go out there to coast through – you go out to dominate. You impose your will on a man.’ And he was my fight coach for a little bit, too, and I did the same thing. You’re going to go in there, take this guys down, make them carry your weight, and you dominate. You’re going to make them want to quit. … make them go through a living hell.
“I feel like I can fight that way again here. As for the UFC, when you would do that, it’s, ‘This is boring, this guy’s boring, boo, this guy sucks, stand him up,’ and that’s the stuff the [UFC President] Dana White and [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard see. When it comes down to picking who’s going to move forward in the rankings and who’s going to get the next shot, they take that into perspective. It’s like, ‘The fans didn’t like this guy’s style, so we’re not going to promote him for a title fight. That’s going to lose us money.’ So you’ve got these guys out here fighting like rock’em, sock’em robots, knocking each other senseless, and it’s, ‘Ah, that’s what we like, that’s what everybody wants to see. They love the blood. They love the gore. We’ve got to promote that.
“I feel here, it’s not going to be that way. If you win, you move foward. And I can just go out there and win.”