Corey Anderson was a man obsessed with proving his worth to others as he fought for respect in the sport.
Despite threatening for title contention in the UFC — including a lopsided win over ex-champion Glover Teixeira — and then tearing through the competition in Bellator MMA en route to the finals of the ongoing light heavyweight grand prix, the 33-year-old veteran still never found his name at the top of the list of 205-pounders.
Anderson, No. 3 at light heavyweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings — started to realize that he couldn’t judge himself or his accomplishments based on everybody else’s opinion of him. Instead, the Ultimate Fighter 19 winner remembered that MMA is just his job and he really needed to treat it as such.
“It used to be, I wanted to fight to prove something to people,” Anderson explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. Anderson explained that he is at a point in his career where maybe he has become wiser and older, but it doesn’t matter what others think of him. What people think about me is irrelevant to me. I don’t care about the debates.
“I know how good I am. It’s clear that I am the best person in the world. I’ve trained with the best in the world. I’ve trained with guys who say I’m the best they’ve ever trained with. How I train is something I am familiar with. It is known by my family. My family backs me. That’s the most important thing so now I’m just going to do this like any job. I go to a job to make money to support my family. That’s what this is.”
After inking his first deal with Bellator MMA, Anderson mentioned often that he was making far more money for the Paramount-owned promotion that he ever did in his six-year career spent in the UFC. He just recently signed for a second contract with Bellator that will keep Anderson even happier and on Friday at Bellator 288 he’ll compete for a $1 million prize in the finals of the light heavyweight grand prix when he faces Vadim Nemkov for the second time.
Make no mistake, Anderson will be proud to become a Bellator champion but he’ll be just as happy when that seven-figure check hits his bank account.
” It’s not the fight game anymore. It’s the fight business,” Anderson stated. “This is my career. My wife is invested in it. Behind the scenes, she assists me in filing paperwork and fighting medical bills.
“This is our business. Our business is to go out there and make as much money as we can to come home and take care of our two beautiful children and our houses and everything that we’ve got. It’s that simple. For my next job, I will sign the contract. It doesn’t matter which one pays me most. It’s a business. It’s all about making money.”
Anderson, like most athletes in combat sports is a prizefighter. He’s learned over time that decisions about his career need to be made with that fact in mind, which is why he’s not getting lost in the noise about what a win over Nemkov might mean for him.
Anderson should be able to finish the job, claim the Bellator lightweight title and make a million dollars within a single evening. Then he will get a call back from Scott Coker offering another chance to increase his earnings.
Maybe that’s a challenge to Ryan Bader at heavyweight, or maybe it means Anderson stays put at 205 to fight Yoel Romero. The names don’t matter as much to Anderson as the paycheck he’ll earn. The rest will sort itself out.
“Whichever one is the best business move,” Anderson said. Anderson said, “If I can get more money, and I want to fight for another belt,” The money is our goal. It’s a business. I’ve got to make sure the family is taken care of. I’m good. My family is not my only concern. I’m fighting to be the best but every move I make it has family intentions.
“I have the option to defend or move up, depending on which one I choose. Either way, I’m fighting for a belt. But whichever one has the most value, that’s what I’m going for.”