Bellator 288: Corey Anderson Recalls Favorite Frankie Edgar, Rumble Johnson Moments

“A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter,” Corey Anderson noted during Wednesday’s Bellator 288 media day.

Anderson (16-5, 1NC) has good reason to be upbeat. He’s coming into Bellator 288 off a strong performance against light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov in their first meeting earlier this year. While the fight resulted in a No Contest due to an accidental head butt, Anderson is a win away from the belt, and one million dollars in prize money.

As happy as Anderson is, however, it’s been a rough week for MMA. Anderson’s mentor, Frankie Edgar, retired off a brutal knockout loss. One of his peers, the hard-hitting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, tragically passed away at the age of just 38.

“Overtime” shared his favorite memory of both with Cageside Press on Wednesday.

“I mean, my favorite moment of Frankie’s career, you’ve got to go to the Gray Maynard fights,” Anderson stated. “Anybody and everybody will tell you, the Gray Maynard trilogy. The second fight was probably the best.”

For Corey Anderson, however, memories of Edgar are a little more personal. “The Answer” was his head coach on The Ultimate Fighter 19 back in 2014. Hence, “just training with Frankie” is another favorite memory.

“I’m who I am, and in this sport— well not in this sport, but in the big leagues because of Frankie. Frankie picked me first when I was on The Ultimate Fighter, invited me to New Jersey, he took me in, and he taught me everything he knows, which helped me mold to be the man I am today. That right there, that’s the favorite thing I have about Frankie. The generosity he had to take a complete stranger he met on a reality TV show, and invite him into his father in law’s house and allow me to stay in New Jersey and train with him.”

Then there’s Johnson, one of the light heavyweight division’s most formidable knockout artists.

“As for Rumble, I’ve gotta say my best memory is, I think it was World Series of Fighting. He was fighting D.J. Linderman.” Johnson took an eye poke in the fight, Anderson recalled, but the ref didn’t see it. “D.J. came sprinting across the cage, and you see A.J. just stop and throw a right hand, and literally it just made dude’s body— his whole soul left his body in an instant, just folded right to the ground and the fight was over.”

“That was probably one of the coldest and coolest things I’ve seen,” said Anderson. “Out of all his knockouts, that’s the one that stuck out most to me.”

Watch the full Bellator 288 virtual media day appearance from Corey Anderson above. Anderson faces Vadim Nemkov in the main event this Friday, November 18, 2022 in Chicago, IL.