When NYFights Erik Sloan chatted with Eryk Anders, they discussed who should be next for the UFC middleweight, the proper spelling of their names, and if Anders has been star-struck.
Eryk ‘Ya Boi' Anders is a former NFL player turned MMA fighter. Anders made his professional MMA debut in 2015 and entered the UFC in 2017. Anders boasts a 15-7-0-1 (UFC 7-7-0-1) record. He may not be sporting the ever-so-elusive undefeated record that looks great on paper, he's gotten a wealth of experience against some big names in the sport.
Most recently, ‘Ya Boi' fought Kyle Daukus. Anders was able to dominate this fight and secure the TKO victory within two rounds of action. Prior to this, Daukus had only been finished by one Roman Dolidze, who is now scheduled to fight Marvin Vettori. Should Anders book a big name opponent next, who's to say he can't find himself at the top of the division after another one or two wins?
The 35-year-old doesn't seem too pressed about what's next, though. When asked if he had any name(s) in particular on the radar, he responded “I'll see what happens, man. You know, the landscape is changing daily. Whatever [the UFC] wants, I'm down.”
MAYBE A BIG NAMED OPPONENT NEXT?
We then spoke a bit on the bigger names in the division that aren't exactly in the peripherals of a title shot right now, such as Darren Till and Khamzat Chimaev. Anders, who has also fought at light heavyweight, let me know that the door wasn't closed for the 205lb division either “Yeah, dude. You know, I'm a prize fighter — you've got to fight to get the prize. The prize is money.”
We then talked about the state of the light heavyweight division which, at the time, had no champion. That changed this past weekend with Jamahal Hill defeating the former champ, Glover Teixeira. Now that the waters at 205lbs are a bit more clear, it should be easier for Anders to find a suiting opponent at the weight class.
ERYK ANDERS WHEN HE'S NOT WORKING
I wanted to know a bit more about Eryk when he's off the clock. As a man with a few hobbies myself, I wanted to know what extra curriculars he had going on in his life, like acting in the show Cobra Kai. “Yeah, [Cobra Kai] was pretty fun… That's not like an everyday thing. It's just, like, on a whim, like ‘Hey, do you want to come to Atlanta? Cool.' I like gardening… Hanging out with the kids, playing video games with them. When I'm home, I'm soccer mom, man. I train all day during the day, and then in the evening time, I run everyone to practice. So yeah, pretty busy.”
We then moved back to fighting. Specifically, the location of where he'd like to fight. Many fighters prefer to fight at home, but some get excited at the thought of traveling and fighting in legendary arenas or beautiful cities.
“It used to be Madison Square Garden, but man, I'm not really trying to pay those New York taxes and the New York commission sucks. I like fighting overseas! Maybe Japan, I think, would be dope. They have a really great crowd and audience… Brazil was dope.”
Get it together, New York. “Ya Boi' needs to throw some hands at MSG and keep that bag too. Anders, who made his UFC debut in New York, then gave me the ins and outs of the pre-fight hoops a fighter needs to go through in order to make the walk on fight night.
And trust me, fans are in for a treat when Anders is able to make the walk. Anders, who has finished ten of his fifteen wins, is one of those “hard to kill” fighters. His toughness is like a real-life cheat code. I asked him about where this stems from, and he gave me some insight as to why you may see him physically beaten, but never mentally broken. “You can have a certain threshold, you know what I mean? Everyone's different. Some people get a papercut and it's like, life ending… Obviously I played for Nick Saban (University of Alabama football coach), who's a tough coach. My high school coaches were tough, my dad was tough… I never ever wanted to quit anything. Even if I don't win, it's whatever. But, I just feel like if I quit one time, the next time will be easier, and the next time after that will be easier. So, regardless of what it is, I don't ever want for it to be okay to quit.”
I kept it to myself, but I definitely fall on the “treating a papercut like it's life ending” side of this toughness scale when compared to Eryk Anders.
THE NOT-SO-HARD-HITTING QUESTIONS
We wrapped things up with a bit more of lighthearted matters, such as picking walkout songs, which celebrity he's met that had him star struck, and I even pitched a nickname for him! It would feel absolutely wrong without for me to not ask him the most obvious question, and the first one that came to mind when I booked him. Me, Erik, and him, Eryk, both have the same name but spell it in different, but rad ways. I had to pick Ander's brain and ask him what he thinks of people who spell our name with a ‘c'. He replied “They're weird, dude.”
Excellently put. I couldn't agree more. Sorry all of you Erics out there, maybe tell your parents to spell your name better next time.