Balance. It’s what Eryk Anders is always trying to achieve in his life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but that doesn’t stop the San Antonio native from trying.
“I think you have to take time and smell the roses and enjoy the fruits of your labor a little bit,” said Anders, who has been taking in whatever the world throws at him in between his June win over Vinicius Moreira and his Saturday bout against Gerald Meerschaert. That included a training stop at Fortis MMA in Dallas, as well as a trip to Las Vegas that saw him breaking up a scuffle between WWE stars Dolph Ziggler and Goldberg.
Living the dream? “Ya Boi” is giving it his best shot.
“Me and the wife enjoy traveling and hanging out and meeting new people and going on a different adventure every day, and we do that as much as possible,” said Anders. “Sometimes you can overdo it, and I think there’s a happy medium. You have to keep things fresh, keep things moving and create other opportunities for yourself.”
Stopping in for some work with Sayif Saud and his gang of UFC standouts is a prime example of Anders keeping it fresh, even though home will always be with head coach Chris Connolly in Alabama.
“It (working with Fortis MMA) was just a really good opportunity for me,” Anders said. “As you meet people, they invite you to come train with them and help get guys ready for fights and they help you get ready for fights and better yourself. Coach Sayif and I really connected and I really like his vibe and the way he runs practices and stuff at the gym, and the gym is loaded full of talent, so it was an invaluable for me to get in there and go train with those guys.”
Suffice to say, things are good these days for the 32-year-old southpaw, who hit some rough road when he lost three straight to Thiago Santos, Elias Theodorou and Khalil Rountree. But in June, a 78-second knockout of Moreira did wonders for Anders’ disposition and position in the UFC.
“Man, it felt good,” he said. “I put a lot of time, work and effort into training for these fights, so whenever I go out there and compete, I expect to win. It’s disappointing whenever you don’t get that W that you worked so hard for. So I’m happy to right the ship and I’m looking to keep things moving.”
In Anders’ case, that’s a move back down to middleweight for a showdown with Milwaukee finisher Meerschaert. It’s an intriguing bout, not just because of the matchup, but because Anders is returning to 185 pounds for the first time since last December. So is this his final destination, or will there still be forays to light heavyweight if the phone rings with such an offer?
“I enjoy fighting,” he said. “I enjoy everything about it and that goes into it, especially the competition. So if they call me to fight somebody on a week’s notice, I’m down for that. And they know that and the UFC also knows that I’m down to fight up a weight class as well. I enjoy my job and I do it as much and as often as I can.”
But here’s that’s balance thing again. How does Anders balance doing what’s right for his career with his desire to fight anyone in any weight class at a moment’s notice? He admits that’s a tough one and a battle he might lose when it comes to being a businessman over a fighter.
“I’m probably gonna ignore that part of things just because it’s really hard for me to say no,” he said. “I think the fans like the guys who step up on short notice and go out there and compete. It is a bit more dangerous to go in there when you’re not a hundred percent in fight shape. But, I don’t care – I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time, so I’m down for that.”
So while most fighters would step into the Octagon this weekend and go on to planning the holidays after a year well fought, Anders is – not surprisingly – hoping to fight some more before Santa comes to Birmingham.
“Fifty percent on the year is definitely not what I’m trying to do,” said Anders, currently 1-1 in 2019. “I’m definitely trying to fight two more times. I needed that last win and I think I gained a lot of experience and got a lot better since that Rountree fight, so the more time I get, the better I get, and I’m just looking to go out there and compete on Saturday and then at least one more time before the year’s over with.”