Eryk Anders has 2018 all planned out.
Anders, who is scheduled to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida this weekend at UFC Fight Night 125 in Brazil, is aiming to fight ‘between four and six times’ in 2018 so that he can enter title contention.
Anders explained his goals for the new year with Ben Armendariz from Canvas Conversations.
Working up the food chain
Since arriving in the UFC mid-2017, Anders has breezed past two opponents before scoring this main event matchup with a legend of the sport.
While the call-out was surprising to fans, it’s clear that Anders has carefully plotted his path. After ‘legitimizing his name’ with a win over Machida, Anders hopes that it will boost his potential to be involved in ‘big’ matchups going forward.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”16″]Hopefully a win will put me in the top 15 so that I can start to get bigger fights and work my way up the food chain.[/perfectpullquote]
The ‘food chain’ as Anders mentions, seems to be ripe for the picking if Anders proves to be victorious this weekend.
As for his next bite out of the UFC’s middleweight rankings, he already has someone in mind.
Fighting Branch in Orlando
Anders has his eyes set on David Branch, who is ranked #8 in the UFC’s Official Middleweight Rankings.
Branch was originally scheduled to fight Yoel Romero at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, but Romero was asked to step in and replace the injured Robert Whittaker at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia, and therefore left Branch without an opponent.
Despite UFC on FOX 28 being just three weeks away, Anders is interested in stepping in to replace Romero and challenge Branch.
A battle with Branch in February could mean that Anders has competed twice in 2018 in a matter of two months.
Entering title contention
Keeping active and making the most of your opportunities is the fast-track to the top, just ask Volkan Oezdemir – who was arguably the breakout fighter of 2017.
Anders plans to keep his winning momentum rolling through 2018 and if everything goes his way, there’s no doubting that he will be close to title contention by the end of the year.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”16″]If everything goes according to plan, and I get the fights that I want when I want, I want to fight between four and six times in 2018. I think I can go out there and take care of business and win all of the fights and put myself in title contention by the end of the year.[/perfectpullquote]
Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders is the scheduled main event for UFC Fight Night 125 in Belém, Brazil. You can watch the full interview with Ben Armendariz from Canvas Conversations below.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.