UFC Vegas 21’s Eryk Anders Only Moves One Way: Forward

Middleweight Eryk Anders returns to the octagon for the first time in ten months this Saturday when he takes on Darren Stewart. Anders, a former CFL and college football star with the Crimson Tide in Alabama, has carried a bit of the football mindset into his fighting career.

“Linebacker’s not really a skilled position. Everything is straight forward. If you watch the way I fight, that’s really the only direction I move,” Anderson noted, speaking at a virtual media day on Thursday promoting UFC Vegas 21.

Of course, his strike count has improved. He no longer has to play “rock ’em, sock ’em robots anymore.” But at the end of the day it’s “football mentality,” continued Anders. Whether it’s the defensive line, or outside linebacker, “everything is forward. Kind of like an FU mentality. I definitely approach fighting the same way. Me or him.”

The time away from the octagon may have been a blessing in disguise. Anders attempted to step up on short notice in November, against Antonio Arroyo at UFC Fight Night 183. However, enduring a tough weight cut to 185lbs (and missing weight), Anders was forced out of the fight due to medical complications.

“Lesson learned, at 85, it would probably be better to have time for a full camp like I did for this one, and not take it on short notice,” admitted Anders. “But at 205, I can make 205 in just a few days, so I’ll still take short-notice 205 fights.”

“To be honest it’s probably been the best thing for me. I feel rejuvenated physically and mentally,” Anders said of the time off. Going into a fight without nagging injuries, at 100%, “really doesn’t happen in this sport,” Anders added. In retrospect, while he was a bit bored on the sidelines, “it was probably the best thing for me.”

“I think my cardio is the best it’s ever been. My skillset is the sharpest that it’s ever been. I know it’s cliche and a lot of fighters say that, but it really rings true,” he added.

Watch the full UFC Vegas 21 media day scrum with Eryk Anders above.