During Bellator 297 Fight Week, Corey Anderson admitted following the event, the jitters got to him.
Paired up with ex-light heavyweight champ Phil Davis, Anderson (17-6, 1NC) knew exactly what was on the line.
“If I lose to Phil Davis, there’s no way I’m getting a title fight. He’s already been champ, and he’s been beat by the champ,” was Anderson’s line of thinking.
“Fight week, the jitters really got to me, the what ifs, and ‘I don’t think I can do it.'” Anderson literally had chills, he added, speaking during Friday’s post-fight press conference. Chills bad enough that he turned the heat up in his hotel room. It left him questioning “Did I get COVID again? I didn’t know what was going on. I was so nervous. if I lost — my only goal is to be champ, I figured if I lost, there goes that.”
When it came time for the scores to be read, Anderson was sure he had done enough — up to a point.
“I wasn’t as confident in the last round. Last round was the one that kind of had me wondering,” Anderson admitted. The other two rounds, however, “Overtime” was much more confident in. “I felt like I was winning, but when they said that one [scorecard] 29-28 for Phil, I was like ‘awww. Burt [Watson] said it, ‘don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, because they’ll make you cry.’ But they got it right.”
They got it right, and Anderson took home a split decision win. With champ Vadim Nemkov also winning on the night, defending his title with a decision against Yoel Romero, what comes next for Anderson would appear to be obvious.
“There’s nothing else to do, I’m the number one contender. Why would I go back and fight back to get back here, when I just beat #2? We should have did the trilogy in the first place, but they’d already announced the Yoel fight.”
Anderson and Nemkov first met during the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix. Their original meeting ended in a No Contest due to an accidental clash of heads, while Nemkov won a decision in the rematch.
Watch the full Bellator 297 post-fight press conference with Corey Anderson above.