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Corey Anderson Reflects on Bellator Championship Victory

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While Corey
Anderson has finally become a mixed martial arts world
champion, the realization hasn’t completely dawned on him.

Anderson won the vacant Bellator
MMA light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over
Karl
Moore at the
Bellator Champion Series Belfast on March 22. While most of
Anderson’s career was spent in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship, “Overtime” never got a gold bid
in the promotion despite being perennially ranked. Anderson decided
to part ways with the UFC following a first-round knockout loss to
Jan
Blachowicz in 2020, as the promotion allegedly refused to give
him a pay raise and agreed in 20 seconds when he asked for his
release.

Anderson signed with Bellator
MMA and racked up a three-fight KO streak, including a finish
of Ryan
Bader in under a minute to earn an immediate title shot against
Vadim
Nemkov. While Anderson was outclassing Nemkov in their first
clash at
Bellator 277 in April 2022, the bout ended in an unfortunate no
contest due to a clash of heads in the third round. The two met in
a rematch at
Bellator 288 later that year, which Nemkov went on to win via a
dominant decision. Anderson bounced back with a split decision win
over Phil
Davis to earn another shot at the title, which was left vacant
by Nemkov’s move up to heavyweight. After finally being crowned
champ with his victory over Moore last weekend, Anderson finds the
feeling difficult to explain.

For most of his career, Anderson’s immediate concern after a fight
would be to chase the next one to make his way to a title shot.
With the title now in his hands, “Overtime” hasn’t yet gotten used
to the feeling of being chased.

“It’s kind of hard to put it into words, too,” Anderson told
TMZ Sports. “It’s kind of like every night I’m still
having those dreams. Even after the night I fought. I remember
going back, we fell asleep around 3:30-4:00 a.m. and I woke up with
a dream like I was preparing to fight for the belt. I looked over
and the belt was on the couch, like, ‘Wait, I’m the champ now.’ I
remember being at the airport the next day and telling my wife
like, ‘It’s just weird.’ I fall asleep on the plane and still I’m
thinking I’m preparing for a title fight, can’t make no mistakes. I
wake up, ‘Wait, I got the belt now.’

“Tell my wife it’s weird now because for all these years I’ve
always fought and the next morning or that night I’m studying who I
potentially might fight the next day [sic] to get to the title. Or
I got a title fight, studying the champ. Now I’m at that point
where it’s like, ‘What do I do from here?’ Like I study and [watch]
film on who I got to fight next to get to the belt but it’s like
I’m the champ, I’m the one they studying, the target’s on my back.
So, it’s kind of weird. I don’t know if it’ll really hit me until I
have to get back to camp again.”

Anderson plans on moving up to heavyweight in the future, but not
before he has established himself as a champ at 205 pounds.

“I mean, eventually I would like to go up to heavyweight, you
know,” said Anderson. “But I don’t want to just get one here, and
I’m going up and right away. No, I got to hold it for a bit. Show
like, I want it and I can keep it. And then like I said, at the end
of the year [if] I’m still holding the belt and I have had a few
fights whatever it is here, there’s not anybody to look [forward
to] or anything moving, why not, let’s go up. But I would
definitely like to challenge myself at another weight after a while
but not right away, not greedy. I like making money, but I ain’t
like greedy greedy.”

For now, Anderson is focused on making up for lost time with his
family and recovering from minor injuries before he returns to
training.

“I mean I’m definitely gonna take a little break, get some things
taken care of,” he said. “Injuries that I have just been like
pushing through, let some of those heal if they can heal on their
own time. Then I’m gonna go see a specialist, see what we need to
do, not like any major surgeries, something small where I can be in
and out, back on my feet in a couple of weeks. We definitely gonna
take some time, enjoy time with the family.”

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