The UFC’s roster of fighters is rich with stories that go beyond the octagon and one of them is that of Eryk Anders, who before being one of the stars of the cage played football.
Also known by the nickname of ‘Ya Boi‘ behind this giant of 185 centimetres and 84 kilos in weight and 33 years old, there is a fighter tailor-made for him, who despite losing his last fight against the fighter Krzysztof Jotko, It has a powerful dreaded punch in the cage, as the name of the stage in which the fights take place is known.
Eryk Anders was born by chance at a United States Air Force base in the Philippines, where his mother was at the time. As a sophomore in high school, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he played football for Smithson Valley High School.
After graduating, Anders started at the University of Alabama in 2006, playing from 2006 to 2009 as ‘linebacker’ for Crimson Tide, reaching the 2009 BCS National Championship against the Texas Longhorns.
After college, he signed a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL), also playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and Arena Football, before trading the football for the UFC gloves.
Probably, the good start in mixed martial arts is the one that made him convinced that he wanted to try to carve out a future for himself in this field, and for this he started from below.
He began his racing career as an amateur in 2012 as an amateur, leading to a total of 22 bouts, before defeating Josh Rasberry as a cyclone in his first professional match. It lasted just 40 seconds.
After this brilliant debut, Anders – who is married to the English teacher Yasmin, also a lover of gyms – followed the usual path until reaching the Champions League of mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), after passing through the Bellator MMA and the Legacy Fighting Alliance.
And, as happened in his first professional match, the first time this middleweight warrior locked himself in the cage – July 23, 2017 – he stepped over his rival, Brazilian Rafael Natal, already retired, to whom sent to the infirmary in the first round after knocking him out.
Since then, ‘Ya Boi’ has carved out a 13-5-0 record, with eight of his knockout victories, seven of them in the first round, one by submission and one by decision of the judges, having entered some 300,000 Dollars.
He debuted with delivering a brilliant KO to his rival during his first minute in the UFC cage.
Like any of the UFC fighters seeking glory and making a fortune, that’s why he left football. He may have had a setback in his aspirations against Poland’s Jotko, against whom he was seeking his third straight victory.
It won’t be long before he faces new goals, true to his style and way of seeing life: “They offer me fights, I sign the contract, I introduce myself and I try to do the job. I like to stay active,” said ‘Ya Boi’, who continues to pursue the dream of entering the top 15 of his division, which would allow him to fight more importantly and move up the “ranking and become champion”, as pointed out in the previous one against Krzysztof Jotko.
Race to glory that does not prevent him from continuing to have his feet on the ground, as has been seen in recent days, in which he has been seen helping with the distribution of food to the people most in need of the coronavirus pandemic in the city of Birmingham (United States).