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SK Interview: UFC middleweight star Eryk Anders on switch to MMA, facing Lyoto Machida and more

Harry Kettle
FEATURED WRITER
Exclusive
188   //    02 Feb 2018, 01:59 IST

Anders is days away from the biggest fight of his career
Anders is days away from the biggest fight of his career

The UFC is forever searching for new stars to make a name for themselves within the organization, especially given that the likes of Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey are no longer in the picture.

In the present day it may seem as if they’re struggling, but if you look a little bit closer, you’ll see that there are multiple stars just waiting to burst into the mainstream limelight – and one of biggest is Eryk Anders.

“I think they see a lot of upside to me [the UFC]. They see what I bring to the table, and that I’m eager to fight. I’ll take on all comers in the middleweight division, so perhaps they’re just rewarding my hard work and diligence with the main event fight.”

The 30-year-old former footballer has been on an absolute tear since beginning his MMA journey back in 2015, and with seven finishes to his name alongside a 10-0 perfect record, it’s fair to say that this guy could well be the future of the middleweight division.

We had the chance to interview ‘Ya Boi’ in the days prior to his main event bout against Lyoto Machida at UFC Belem, and as far as we’re concerned, he’s as focused as any man could hope to be heading into such a vital part of his young career.

“When I was playing arena ball we had the UFL that was trying to start up, and I was trying to get into that to try and get back into the NFL, but that kind of fell through. Everything happens for a reason, but I really think I’ve found my passion with MMA.”

Anders is someone who will beat you from pillar to post regardless of whether or not he gets the finish, and his larger than life-fighting style has commanded the attention of UFC president Dana White. With two impressive victories after just six months in the promotion, a definitive finish over the legendary Machida could see Anders launch himself into the top 15 or even top 10.

Despite his success, though, Anders isn’t as cocky as some fans may expect someone of his caliber to be. He’s down to earth, has a good head on his shoulders, and understands that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity which he plans to seize.

“My job is to go out there and get a win. Do I think I’ll knock him out? Yes. If we go all five rounds do I think I’ll win? Yes. Am I capable of submitting Lyoto Machida? Yes. I think the fight is gonna go my way, but I don’t think there’s any pressure on me to go out there and get a knockout.”

Machida is no joke but considering that he’s coming off the back of an emphatic loss to Derek Brunson, who just fell to Jacare Souza, you have to wonder how much of a chance he’s got heading into this clash.

Either way, we’re expecting an absolute classic this Saturday, on a card that also features the Octagon returns of fan favourites John Dodson and Valentina Shevchenko.

But the real focus will be on the main event, as should always be the case, as Eryk Anders attempts to make it 11 professional wins in just over two & a half years.

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Harry Kettle
FEATURED WRITER
22. Wrestling, MMA, Football.
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