While his UFC debut against Natal came on short notice, one key here is a full camp — something most fighters prefer. Eryk Anders, however, feels the opposite. When asked if a full camp would help make things smoother this time out (not that there were many flaws to be found in his debut), the fighter told us that “To be honest with you, I prefer shorter notice fights.”
To be honest with you, I prefer shorter notice fights.
Those, Anders said, are preferable “rather then wait three months, train three months with no action, with no competition. I feel like sometimes, this isn’t my first time doing this as a professional, and I feel like the longer that I train without a fight, without that break, the more chances there are for overtraining, injuries, stuff like that.”
“I like to have a week or two, get ready for a fight, take a week or two off, then get ready for the next one.” While it might seem like Football, with games week after week, might drive that, that’s not the case. Anders says the drive comes from elsewhere — from wanting to put his skills to the test.
“I just like to train, get better, and then have the competition. I’m not really a fan of just training to train. I want to train, sharpen my skills, and put them to the test. I really don’t want to wait three or four months, because I never stop training. I’ll take a week or two off after a fight, just because me and my wife usually go on vacation — after the Natal fight we went to Europe, we went to Croatia and Italy, after this fight we’ll be going to Brazil for Christmas and whatnot.”
“Your body needs those breaks and rests from training. I really don’t get those when I have a fight coming up; I like my mind to be in the fight all the time. Those short notice fights, I can get ready for the fight, boom! I can get through camp, get through training with no injuries or anything like that, then put the skills to the test.”
With his stated love of travel, would an international card appeal moving forward?
“For sure, I’d love to go over to the U.K., to Europe, South America, where ever they go. I love to travel, absorb new cultures and traditions” Anders said. “I think fighting abroad would be really fun.” It helps to have a partner with some experience traveling the world. “My wife, she’s very well traveled, has lived in Croatia, Spain, Brazil, she’s from Brazil, obviously America, so she likes to travel just as much as I do.”
Before Anders heads to Brazil on holiday, however, there’s his bout at UFC Fresno. Like Anders himself, Markus Perez is a former LFA middleweight champion. In fact, he captured the title Anders had vacated upon jumping to the UFC. Now Perez has followed suit. How familiar is Anders with his upcoming opponent?
“His fights are a little bit more difficult to see,” he told us, “but I’ve seen his last two or three fights. He’s got very slick jiu-jitsu, he finished his last fight with a head-and-arm triangle from the bottom. I haven’t seen that in MMA, I would imagine it’s not very common.”
Breaking things down further, he explained that Perez “seems athletic, moves, does a lot of spinning stuff, moves a lot. I’ll probably spend a lot of time trying to chop him down and find a home for my strikes.”
So ultimately, what gives Eryk Anders the edge in the fight, in his opinion? For him, it’s the mental game. “I think I have the mental edge over everybody I fight” Anders suggested. “I know he’s fought at welterweight before, so I’d imagine he doesn’t cut too much weight. I’ll definitely be the more physically imposing guy.” Power versus finesse perhaps? “He’s a little bit smoother on his feet than I am, he moves, he’s got those Latino hips. I don’t possess any kind of rhythm or anything like that. He’ll move a lot, he’s very athletic, he jumps, he spins, I think it’s a very interesting match-up.”
That it is, especially given the backstory of both fighters coming through LFA and winning the title there, one after the other. Anders, however, pays that no mind; for him, it’s all about the future, and proving himself in the UFC on an international scale. Forget about bragging rights.
“If we’d had fought in LFA, for sure, but I think we’re both on to bigger and better things” he told Cageside. “We’re both trying to climb that UFC ladder now. We’ve both shown that we can do it on the regional circuit, now we’re trying to prove that we can do it on the international circuit. I don’t think the LFA implications have anything to do with it. Just looking to get in there, get the W, and on to the next.”
And following that, what is Ander’s goal for 2018?
“I want to fight four or five times next year, starting with that Austin card’ he said, underlining his desire to stay more active. “That’s like ninety miles from where I’m from. I definitely want to go out there and perform in front of the home town.”
Eryk Anders faces Markus Perez at UFC Fresno (UFC Fight Night 123) on December 9 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA. The bout airs as part of the main card on Fox Sports 1 (TSN 5 in Canada).