The excitement is evident in the voice of the normally low-key Anders, who, after reaching the pinnacle of college football with the University of Alabama in 2009, has found a path to doing the same thing in a sport where he can never stop learning and growing.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “Especially when it concerns range and distance, which I think is one of Eddie’s best coaching attributes. I’m realizing that I don’t have to be standing on top of somebody to hit him; I can cover some ground and cover some distance. And I honestly think that lack of distance management was the reason I lost the Khalil Rountree and Thiago Santos fights; I was too close or too far, when there’s a whole middle ground there. And also, I’ve got awesome training partners down here. Back home, it’s kind of easy when I get people up against the cage to take them down and things like that. So when I get in a fight and it’s not so easy, it’s not that it’s foreign, it’s just different. So I’ve been really working my ass off and working with some high quality, UFC-caliber fighters out here and when I go into a fight, fighting a UFC-caliber fighter, I’ve seen the speed, felt the power and managed the strength.”
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All that’s left then is for him to fight his fight, and against Stewart, he will have a willing dance partner for what should be one of the best bouts on Saturday’s card. Not that Anders has gone too deep in analyzing the matchup. Remember, he’ll fight anybody.
“I really don’t turn down fights,” he said. “If everything lines up, then that’s what we do. So who I fight really doesn’t matter to me, but I do like this fight because I think him and I are in similar circumstances. I think we’re both around .500 in the UFC, we both like to stand and bang and crack, so I would imagine that that’s how this fight’s gonna play out.”
And in ten years? How does he keep that competitive blood flowing when not checking the mailbox and getting fat?