Corey Anderson has long been overlooked in the light heavyweight title picture, but ahead of UFC 244, he’s not dwelling on that snub.
New York, NY — Corey Anderson has been here before — part of card where a main event fighter has been hit with drug test irregularities. Last time out, it was UFC 232, and Jon Jones. This time, it’s UFC 244 and Nate Diaz.
Anderson, however, was never worried that the UFC might up and move the entire card to a new location, like they did with UFC 232. “Not so much, because Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal isn’t as big of a thing as fighting for the belt,” Anderson told Cageside Press at Thursday’s UFC 244 media day. “The BMF belt, it’s something they’re promoting, but it’s not the same as a title fight.”
The “baddest motherf*cker” title, after all, is a one-off. And UFC 232 was also Jones’ return from a lengthy absence. “I felt with Jon Jones coming back from a long layoff and being Jon Jones, the safe-to-say GOAT, against [Alexander Gustafsson], the fight they wanted to see again after five years, that was different. That was one they wasn’t going to let slip.”
“As for Diaz and Masvidal, it’s a fight that they all wanted, but I don’t think it was one they was going to switch it up on.” Luckily, the New York Athletic Commission opted to allow Diaz to fight, after the Stockton fighter was found to have low levels of a banned substance in his system, a finding attributed to a contaminated substance.
There’s been a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding Anderson and the light heavyweight title picture in the UFC. Despite a solid win streak, he’s been frequently overlooked as a viable contender, in favor of flashier counterparts in the division.
A win over Johnny Walker should, in theory, put Anderson right there for a title shot, but it’s not something ‘Overtime’ is dwelling on, he said.
“Not anymore. After I had a family and everything, you stop worrying about the rest of that stuff,” he said Thursday.
There’s no question he wants a shot at gold, mind you. “I want it, and I deserve, but at the same time, if I don’t get it, I’m not going to be so bent out of shape anymore,” he stated. “I know what I earned, I know what I deserve, I know what I’ve done. When I retire, I can walk away. If I never get the shot, it’s not like I didn’t earn it. I can’t say ‘I didn’t beat this’ or ‘I didn’t do this.’ I’ve done everything all the other people have done, and they just didn’t give me the shot.”
“Granted,” he continued, “I wanted to do it, I’m going to go out there and put on a performance like I’m fighting to get to the title, but at the same time, it’s not what I’m basing my performance on Saturday.”
Corey Anderson vs. Johnny Walker takes place Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight tops the televised preliminary card on ESPN 2 (TSN in Canada).