Eryk Anders is no stranger to the knockout victory.
He currently has 11 wins in his MMA career and seven of them have been of the KO or TKO variety.
The 31-year-old will bring that fight-stopping ability into his bout at UFC 236 against Khalil Rountree, who has also collected his last four wins via KO.
Anders does not expect either man to be timid when they clash at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
“I think we’re going to meet in the middle, touch gloves and get to work,” Anders told the TSN MMA Show. “I think it will be a fight similar to Thiago (Santos) in a way. I do think that Rountree is a little more explosive, probably hits a little harder (than Santos), and has snap on his punches and that’s why he knocks a lot of people out.”
Anders lost to Santos in the main event of Fight Night Sao Paulo in September of 2018 when the referee stopped the fight after the third round. That setback is part of a two-fight losing streak he is currently mired in with his most recent defeat coming in a split-decision loss to Canadian Elias Theodorou at UFC 231 in Toronto three months later.
This is the first time Anders will enter a professional fight on the back of two losses, but he’s looking forward rather than dwelling on what has already taken place.
“It’s part of the game - there’s a winner and a loser, it’s a competition at the end of the day,” said Anders. “I hate losing more than I like winning. I give myself a 24-hour rule, regardless of the outcome, win, lose or draw: after 24 hours I’m over it and on to the next till I get back in that win column.”
Part of getting back to the winning ways has involved training with Marc Montoya at Denver's Factory X, a gym that also features recent title challenger, Anthony Smith, and undefeated strawweight/flyweight, Maycee Barber. Lots of great fighters to interact with and improve alongside.
“It’s just a room full of go-getters; everyone there is just trying to make it to the top and get it done,” said Anders. “It’s good to be in a room full of people that are like-minded individuals and have the same goal in mind. At the same time, they are your teammates, so they aren’t trying to kill you, they’re just trying to make you better, so it’s been a great experience.”
Whether it be the great fighters he’s currently surrounded by, or the best to ever grace the sport, one thing Anders does not believe in is the concept of overachieving. Instead he says that if you reach the pinnacle of your skill set, you get there based on your ability and hard work.
“The guys that worked harder, especially in team sports, the cool kids would make fun of those kids and call them overachievers because they were putting forth max effort,” said Anders. “I don’t agree with the term 'overachiever.' I think you can maximize your potential and that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
He calls the greats of the sport fighters who achieved what they were capable of, not overachievers.
“You can’t call Max Holloway an overachiever, you can’t call Demetrious Johnson an overachiever, you can’t call Jon Jones an overachiever," Anders said. "These guys just maximized their potential and did what they were supposed to do.”
Anders fought Santos at light heavyweight, before moving back to middleweight to take on Theodorou and will once again go up a class to meet Rountree.
The change in weight class is not about trying to find a way up the ladder, but more a case of getting back in the Ocatagon. Anders also might not be done trying different different weights in his UFC career.
“This is just the first fight that was offered to me,” said Anders. “I’m down to fight at middleweight, light heavyweight and I might even think about taking a heavyweight fight before too long.
“When they come calling, I answer.”