UFC 244: Corey Anderson’s Rise To Contendership

Corey Anderson
Corey Anderson Credit: Marcus Rebelo/Cageside Press

By securing a statement win at UFC 244 Corey Anderson has risen to the status of contender. But how far is he from a title shot?

Entering 2018, Corey Anderson was at one of the lowest points in his career. He was on a two-fight losing streak and was 1-3 in his last four. He was no longer considered as a serious contender and was one of the many in the pool of a much-ignored light heavyweight division. However, in 2018 he managed to turn things around for himself.

Anderson secured three wins that year, with one win coming over a fellow rising force in the division, Ilir Latifi. The year saw Anderson go from the pits to back into the very short list of fighters deserving of a title shot.

Of course, one of the reasons why the light heavyweight division has had a genuine shortage of contenders is because of the stature of champion Jon Jones.

Undefeated for almost a decade now, Jones is considered as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. He has ruled the division like no one has ever before. That means getting on the list of contenders to the title is easy, but actually making a case for it is rather difficult. Simply because one needs to build up a strong resume to attract fans.

One of the few fighters at light heavyweight division managed to attract fan’s attention was Johnny Walker. None other than the man Anderson defeated this past Saturday at UFC 244.

A product of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders, Walker had a considerable amount of hype behind him. He had delivered four straight wins in the octagon and was in que to become the next title challenger. When he was placed against Corey Anderson at UFC 244, most people expected him to win. Anderson was tough, but Walker was the one to look out for. Or so the thinking went. At the event, Anderson knocked out Walker in the very first round.

This win does more than just add weight to his resume. The violent fashion by which it came, and image of a fired-up Anderson post-fight, propels him straight into the spotlight. Knocking out a potential title contender is a big deal, and his post-fight antics also didn’t go unnoticed. Anderson immediately demanded a title-shot following the bout, as well he should have. While Dana White predictably shot down the demand, it’s going to be hard to deny Anderson much longer. With a four-fight win streak and statement victory, he’s made his case for a shot against Jones.