Corey Anderson scoffs at people who have him below Glover Teixeira: ‘I beat the UFC champ. Handily. Two-week notice required


Corey Anderson is set to challenge for mantle of the best light heavyweight in Bellator on Friday when he faces champion Vadim Nemkov in the co-main event of Bellator 277.

But he may already have a case for being the best light heavyweight in the world.

Anderson comes into the fight having won seven out of eight of his past eight fights in the last five years. This includes a dominating short-notice win in 2018 against the man who would eventually go on to win UFC Gold: Glover Teixeira, the current UFC light weight champion. Anderson also owns a 1-1 series split with Jan Blachowicz, the ex-champ who Teixeira beat to capture the UFC belt. So when Anderson hears critics attack the notion that the top 205-pound fighter in the world could belong under the Bellator umbrella, he can’t help but laugh.

” You can speak what you like — I defeated the UFC champion. Handily. On two-week notice,” Anderson said at Bellator 277’s press conference. Anderson stated that there was not one scorecard that went his direction. So what are you saying? Yeah, I got knocked out [by Blachowicz in 2020] — people get knocked out. ‘You got caught by Jan.’ But you go back and watch that [first] fight I did against him [in 2015], my fifth or sixth fight ever — boy, I milked him like a cow. This was my easiest fight. I’m just being honest. I was just taking him down left and right.

“Then I went out there with a cocky mindset in the last fight [against Blachowicz], like I said, I was playing games, I wasn’t thinking about the business anymore. Like, ‘Oh, I beat the dude before, I’m going to go out here and show how [good of a striker I am].’ And it cost me. But if I go out there serious and do what I do, I’m untouchable.”

Anderson (16-5) has certainly been on a tear since leaving the UFC in 2020. He’s a perfect 3-0 in Bellator with a trio of TKO finishes. In his most recent outing, Anderson smashed through former Bellator two-division champion — and current heavyweight champion — Ryan Bader with a 51-second knockout in Bader’s hometown of Phoenix to advance into the finals of Bellator’s $1 million light heavyweight grand prix against Nemkov.

Nearly the entirety of Anderson’s MMA career before his Bellator run was spent in the UFC — he inked his first UFC deal as a 3-0 prospect in just his second year as a professional — so Anderson has better sense than most fighters about the difference between competing in the two promotions. So when asked for his thoughts on what the biggest differences between his experiences have been, the 32-year-old veteran didn’t mince words.

“There really is none,” Anderson said. Anderson said, “The only thing that makes the difference is how big your check is. [The critics] was something that bothered me until my first Bellator fight. I was like “You know what?” They don’t matter what they are talking about. Let them speak. I’m laughing with them, but guess what? I am going to the bank with more money than ever before in the UFC. So it’s like, it’s top competition everywhere. It’s possible that the best fighter has not yet been signed. We may never know. But for me the only difference is the check.”

Despite all his successes, Anderson has a lot to do against Nemkov.

The reigning Bellator light heavyweight champion has been unstoppable since joining the promotion, racking up a flawless 7-0 record while defeating former champions Bader, Phil Davis (x2), Rafael Carvalho, and Liam McGeary. Along the way, Nemkov has shown himself to be a dangerous foe everywhere, using both his striking and his grappling effectively to push himself to the top of the class in Bellator’s 205-pound division.

Anderson recognized ahead of Bellator 277, that Nemkov has the advantage in striking but that he knows that there is more to this matchup.

“I 100-percent agree, I give him the nod in the standup too. Anderson stated that his striking was good and that he had good kicks. We all know I am not a kicker. Anderson said, “I am a wrestler. My DNA was made to move forward. You are my inspiration. I’m not built to try to kick around and do anything fancy. I’m not throwing spins, I’m not throwing head kicks.

“But, he can. They can be thrown quickly by him. You don’t even see the kicks, as you mentioned. You don’t see the kicks, but you have to see the tells. This is the beauty of being a good MMA fighter. You start to see the signs when you watch his films and learn everything you can about him. He shows what he’s doing. You just have to be alert. You have to see the truth.

“As long as I keep my eyes open and keep my focus on him and do my thing,” Anderson continued, “I should see those kicks coming.”