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Eryk
Anders
faces Tim
Williams
at
UFC Fight Night 135
on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in
Lincoln, Nebraska, where he will look to rebound from a split
decision loss to former
Ultimate Fighting Championship
titleholder Lyoto
Machida
. It stands as the sole blemish on the 10-1
middleweight’s resume.

As Anders zeroes in on Williams, here are five things you might not
know about him:

1. He moved around a lot when he was
young.

Anders was born on a United States Air Force base in the
Philippines, where his mother was stationed at the time. During his
childhood, he lived in a number of different places, including
Okinawa and New Mexico. While Anderson was in his mid-teens, his
family settled in Texas.

2. He was a successful football player before moving to
mixed martial arts.

Anders was a linebacker at Smithson Valley High School in Texas and
earned a football scholarship to the University of Alabama
(2006-09). In his final year at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won the
BCS National Championship. The tenacious but undersized linebacker
was the team’s top performer in its title-clinching victory over
Texas, as he made seven tackles and forced a fumble. It was the
highlight of Anders’ college football career. Anders signed with
the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, only to be cut, and after stints in the
Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, he decided to
leave the sport behind.

3. He has worked various jobs.

After football and prior to his becoming a full-time mixed martial
artist, Anders held a variety of jobs in order to support himself
and his young son. His jobs included janitor for LabCorp and
customer service representative for AutoTec. Anders intended to
pursue a government job, but after befriending UFC heavyweight
Walt
Harris
in 2011, he set his sights on a career in MMA. His wife,
Yasmin, eventually persuaded him to quit his day job and go all-in
with fighting. Anders was 25 at the time.

4. He has a wealth of amateur experience.

Anders competed in 22 amateur MMA fights before making his pro
debut in August 2015. It afforded him the opportunity to hone his
skills and drop the necessary weight to meet the 185-pound
threshold for middleweights. Anders weighed 235 pounds when he
played football for the University of Alabama. He showed a
propensity for the striking arts early on, as he won four of his
last five amateur contests by knockout or technical knockout.

5. Work ethic remains one of his strong
suits.

Anders never shies away from hard work. The Spartan Fitness
representative has described himself in interviews as being “the
hardest working man in the room.” Anders credits his military
upbringing for his work ethic, and he often talks about pushing
past limits and references his overwhelming ambition to be the
best. Before he became a full-time fighter, he claims he woke up
daily at 4 a.m. to train before going to work. Once a workday
ended, Anders headed straight to the gym. He also supplemented his
income by giving private MMA lessons. His efforts have certainly
reaped rewards.


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