That win set her up for a title shot once Nunes dominated Felicia Spencer at UFC 250. First booked for December, the bout was pushed back to March, where it will occupy the co-main slot at UFC 259. In total, the camp lasted about seven months – a long wait extended even longer for Anderson’s shot at gold, and a test of all the changes she and her team have made in the last couple years.
“We did a really good job of balancing,” Anderson said. “One of the risks of having such a long camp is you run the risk of burning out and not peaking when you need to, so if I was feeling a little bit worn down, I would take a couple days off, or I would take a week off. My problem is I struggle to eat enough, so James would be like, ‘Go eat,’ or just, ‘Go take a day,’ or, ‘Go have a rest,’ or, ‘Just drill. Don’t go live.’ We had to manage that a lot better so we didn’t burn out, and we were able to perform when we needed to.”
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That time in Kansas City, where Anderson has made her home for more than a half-decade, has helped establish the kind of connections that allow unspoken understanding and frank conversation between athlete and coach.
“Obviously, the more you work with somebody, the easier it is to talk to them, learn what makes them tick and stuff like that,” Krause said. “She’s been at the gym for quite a while, so I know her pretty well. She’s definitely a person that doesn’t like to say she’s not feeling good or whatever, but it’s also easy to tell whenever something is a little off. I think just keeping her focused within a long period of time is the most important thing that we’ve had to deal with so far.”
Fighting a woman who is considered the consensus greatest women’s mixed martial artist of all-time and one of the best to do it bar-none can come with a certain amount of pressure and a particularly bright spotlight. For Anderson, she hasn’t really felt fazed by the extra attention, citing that her fight weeks are often pretty busy regardless.