Anderson: I have a better vision of what can happen against Jones
Jon Jones needs a new challenger for his recently defended light heavyweight title and Corey Anderson, who will face Jan Blachowicz in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Rio Rancho card, plans to position himself as the top contender.
Catch UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs Blachowicz Saturday at 6pm et/3pm pt on TSN5 and TSN Direct.
Anderson enters on a four-fight winning streak and with the belief that a title shot against Jones is in his sights heading into the bout.
“I know what I can earn, I know what I can do, I’ve been doing it for years so I just have to go out there and do what I do and let the rest play itself out,” Anderson told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter.
The 30-year-old’s streak includes victories over Patrick Cummins, Glover Teixeira, Ilir Latifi and Johnny Walker, perhaps already enough to earn him a shot at the gold. Anderson is not one to rest on his laurels though and has decided instead to cement his claim as the number one contender with another win.
“I could’ve sat out and waited for the next shot, but with (Jones/Reyes fight) being as close as it was, If I had just said I’ll wait for the shot, they definitely would just have put the rematch up,” said Anderson. “If Jan had taken a fight against someone else earlier and won, they would’ve given it to him. I just figured I’m not going to dispute, I’m not going to say anything, if they say a name, we’re going to sign a contract and we’re going to do it.”
“The first name that came across the table was Jan Blachowicz so I was like all right, if I go out there and dominate, there are no more questions about who’s gonna get next or Corey has to do this or has been ducking fights, like Dana White likes to say.”
Saturday’s main event duo are no strangers to each other, the pair met at UFC 191 in September of 2015 with Anderson earning a unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas.
The UFC 191 victory came early in the Rockford, Ill., native’s MMA career and he feels that while his opponent has probably improved his skills since then, he’s had the time to grow into a more mature fighter.
“I’m getting better and adding different things to my repertoire, because when I fought Jan it was only my second or third fight in the UFC, but only my fifth or sixth fight in my career,” said Anderson.
“He already had 30 fights at that time, so he’s not going to pick up much more techniques or tricks, he’s just going to sharpen up. So in the five years, he’s sharpened up what he already did well and got better, me I got better at what I already did and added a lot more to it. Now I have more tools in the tool box, but I’m also more confident.”
If Anderson is able to get through Blachowicz, he believes there are holes in the champion’s game that can be exploited, something that became even more apparent during last week’s successful title defence thanks to the way Dominick Reyes fought.
“He pretty much opened up a lot of things I already saw and now I can see them a little bit more,” said Anderson. “He’s the first person to put pressure on Jones and open up things, so I definitely have a better vision of what can happen.”
Blachowicz could also put himself in good position to be given the next title shot if he’s able to defeat Anderson on Saturday.
The 36-year-old enters the bout on a two-fight winning streak with victories over Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza.
He has won six of his last seven fights.
The Prelims get underway at 6pm et/3pm pt. and the main card goes at 8pm et/5pm pt. both can be seen on TSN5 and TSN Direct.