Collin Anglin was disappointed that his UFC debut against SeungWoo Choi in February didn’t materialize, but that didn’t compare to seeing the COVID-19 pandemic wreak havoc on his wedding plans. So, when July 17 opened up for his nuptials with his fiancée Mary, the couple jumped on the date.
Then the phone rang.
“Because of COVID and stuff, we've had to push the wedding back for the last year and so we pushed it back three times,” said Anglin. “We had this date, and I was supposed to go on my honeymoon the day after my wedding, but I got a call from coach (Marc Montoya) and my manager Jason (House) and they're like, ‘We've got a fight for you, but it's this date.’ My fiancée is sitting there next to me and she's like, 'You're doing it.' So there was no question we were taking that fight.”
That fight is against fellow Dana White’s Contender Series alum Melsik Baghdasaryan. The date? This Saturday in Las Vegas.
As for the wedding, it took place as scheduled on July 17. The honeymoon will have to wait, but Anglin and his new bride are okay with that.
“It means everything to me,” Anglin said of his wife being in his corner. “She's my number one supporter, and she has been my entire pro career and most of my amateur career. She's been there from the beginning, and she's always willing to make sacrifices. She's a really good support system for me.”
If he didn’t know that early on in a pro career that began in 2017, he certainly did a year ago when Anglin moved from South Lyon, Michigan to Englewood, Colorado, home of the Factory X gym.
“That was another big thing she did for me,” he said. “We came out here for a week and I was like, ‘This is where I need to be,’ and we went home, packed all of our stuff and moved here in a week. She was all for it and on board. She works from home, so it kinda worked out.”
It worked out personally for the newly minted Anglins, and it worked out professionally for the 28-year-old featherweight, who brought a 7-1 pro record into the UFC APEX last September for his DWCS bout against Muhammad Naimov and made it 8-1 with a three-round unanimous decision win that also earned him a UFC contract.
This weekend he breaks in that contract against the hard-hitting Baghdasaryan, but after a year working with Montoya and the Factory X gang, Anglin isn’t going to be surprised by anything he sees when the Octagon door shuts. And that’s one of the most appealing parts of being in Colorado; well, that and the snow melting faster than it did in Michigan. But maybe the biggest factor is something that you can’t quantify with wins or losses.
“The culture that they've created, and that coach Marc Montoya has created and instilled in that gym is amazing,” said Anglin. “It feels like a family, and you can tell everyone cares about each other, and you're held accountable for being at practice and the way you hold yourself in the gym and outside of the gym. The culture there is amazing, the coaching staff is incredible and everyone on my team is extremely talented, from the amateurs to the top tier UFC guys. I'm surrounded by an endless amount of talent and potential.”
Anglin has both talent and potential, and while he was clearly on his way to the UFC while in Michigan, at a certain point he needed a change of scenery and some more bodies to work with.
“It wasn't that the gym where I was at wasn't gonna take me where I need to be,” he said. “Obviously, they got me to Contender Series and I learned a lot at Scorpion Fighting System and I had great training partners and everything. It was just a change-up that I think needed to happen. I was becoming too comfortable there, and at a smaller gym like that, you train with the same dude every day, and if he doesn't show up, it's like, ‘Now who do I go with?’ One of my main training partners was Cody Brundage, and he's a middleweight. And then when I went to Factory X, I was just surrounded by '55ers, '45ers and '35ers, and an abundance of them. And everyone is there every day. So you're never going into practice thinking, 'Who am I gonna train with today?' I'm going to practice to train with the team and there's always gonna be someone my size that can push me and make me better.”
And at the same time, Anglin doesn’t believe he’s lost an ounce of the grit that’s part of the DNA of fighters that call Michigan home.
“Not at all,” he said. “If anything, I've gained more of it. It's not easy leaving the family, leaving all my friends back home and then coming to a place that's foreign to me. Every day it's a grind at Factory X and you don't miss practices, so you wake up and you're dead tired and sore, but you gotta find that grit to get up and go.”
Collin Anglin found that grit and it’s led him to the big show. And though expectations are high for him after his DWCS win, he’s not looking at this weekend’s bout as a new chapter in his career. The way he sees it, this is the start of a whole new book.
“I've been doing this seriously for seven or eight years now,” he said. “Before my last fight, I was like, ‘Okay, this is my ninth professional fight, I've been here, done this for a while now.’ Then I got signed and it's crazy, it's like I hit a reset button on everything. Yeah, I'm 8-1, but I'm 0-0 in the UFC so it almost feels like I'm just now starting my career. I'm excited to finally get my debut and get the ball rolling, get my first win under my belt and just go from there.”