Who is Eryk Anders?
Featured Image Credit: MMA Junkie
Leading into UFC Belem this weekend, the main event features MMA legend Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and "Ya Boy" Eryk Anders. Here, we will spotlight Anders, giving his background, as he is a relatively new face to UFC elite.
Eryk Anders was born on a Air Force base in the Phillipines, but grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. When he was in high school, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he was a football star and eventually committed to the Univsersity of Alabama, where he played linebacker. After winning a national title his senior year and having brief stints in various levels of professional football, he decided to pursue MMA.
He began his MMA career as an amateur in 2012, where he had 22 amateur fights before turning pro in 2015, where he has amassed a quick 10-0, 7 by finish. He quickly caught the eye of the UFC, who picked him up after his 8th pro fight, a KO of Brendan Allen to win the Legacy Middleweight belt. He has shown he's used to the spotlight, however, as he won his first UFC fight by knockout last July.
Eryk Anders has a lot going for him. For one, he's an athletic guy. One knock many people have of MMA fighters is that a lot of them aren't the most athletic. Look at Jon Jones, potentially the GOAT, and look at his brothers. He is probably the least athletic of his siblings, yet he is one of the greatest of the sport. Anders is a former D-1 football player, so he has an athletic ability that is rarely seen in the octagon. Also, he's been under brighter lights. Playing for a national title in college football is HUGE, much larger than headlining a FS1 card in Brazil. He will likely not let the pressure get to him.
Getting to his style, it seems to be, in the limited footage I have seen of him, a combination of wrestling and boxing. His form isn't the best, of course, but he obviously hits hard the way guys are falling down. He probably has a strength advantage over a lot of guys in this division, and Lyoto is no exception. He will likely be able to take "The Dragon" down if he can close the distance.
It is clear that Anders has some real potential in this division. He's an athletic guy that hits hard. That alone is going to get him far. If he continues his progression in various martial arts, look for him to be a big deal in 185, and sooner rather than later.