By Daniel Vreeland
The ride for Megan Anderson to the UFC has been a wild one.
After dominating Charmaine Tweet en route to the Invicta FC featherweight belt, Anderson's path to a headlining fight in the UFC seemed crystal clear. Although some unforeseen events got in the way, she now finds herself on the pay-per-view portion of one of the biggest cards of the year against a former champion in Holly Holm at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago.
In an interview with the Top Turtle MMA Podcast on FloCombat, Anderson spoke about the Holm fight, the status of the UFC featherweight division, Internet trolls, and more.
... On Holm
When Anderson finally steps into the cage, it’ll be nearly 18 months from her last fight. While she isn’t concerned with ring rust, she recognizes that the longest layoff of her life may produce some nerves, but that, she says, is common to everyone and anyone.
“Everyone gets nerves before a fight, whether it’s in front of five people or 5,000 or 50,000,” Anderson said.
However, Anderson believes she has all the necessary resources at her disposal to be ready for the Holm fight, namely a great team of coaches and training partners.
“I’ve been training hard and improving," Anderson said. "I have a lot of knowledge, I train under James Krause, I train with Zak Cummings, and both of those guys have had like 10 fights in the UFC. So they have a lot of knowledge and experience there that I can tap into."
And she hopes to have all that knowledge pay off in a fight with Holm—one that she admits has lots of unknowns for her.
“Holly has a lot of movement. She has great footwork," Anderson said. "So that’s definitely something that’s going to be interesting to me to adjust to."
But it’s not just Anderson who will have adjustments to make. She feels that Holm is going to see things that she has never seen before as well.
“I think for her it’s going to be interesting, too," Anderson said. "She’s never fought someone who’s as big as me, who is as long as me, who has a sizable reach and height advantage. She’s never fought someone like that.
"It’s going to be interesting to see how they game plan for me.”
... On the Featherweight Division
The UFC's 145-pound female division has existed just over a year, and there is a single-digit number of fighters currently occupying it. No rankings have appeared on the UFC’s official site, and it’s something that is on Anderson's mind.
“Definitely, it’s something I think about,” Anderson said. “We’re a year and a bit deep since they introduced the featherweight division and they still haven’t signed anyone.”
In her mind, a big performance against Holm could be the gateway to expanding the division. The UFC's recent plans to host female featherweights on season 28 of "The Ultimate Fighter" will undoubtedly help as well.
With a good performance, however, Anderson hopes to use her voice to encourage even further expansion.
“I hope that they start signing more featherweights,” she said. “It’s something that I hope I can start imploring them to sign more people, and that’s all I can control really.”
... On Internet Trolls
One of the hardest parts of being out of fights for so long was the harshness of the MMA’s brutal online world. Anderson found out firsthand that while the MMA community can be supportive, it can also be disrespectful.
“It was definitely hard [reading all the comments],” she said. “ I definitely learned to block out all the comments that people like to write behind their computer screen or phone. Unfortunately, that’s what social media enables.”
Luckily, due to her support team, Anderson kept things positive and continued to make strides ahead of her UFC debut.
“I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really care what people say about me anymore," Anderson said. "Why should I put time or effort into someone who doesn’t know me and has never met me? The people I value are the people closest to me, and those are the opinions that I value.”