Corey Anderson looks forward to his long-awaited title shot

Local Sports

LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Rockton native Corey Anderson has been trying for years to get a title shot in MMA. He’s finally going to get one early next year now that he’s earned a spot in the finals of Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix started with eight fighters. Now it’s down to two. Anderson and Russian Vadim Nemkov. They’ve advanced through the bracket to set up a showdown for the light heavyweight belt and one million dollars in prize money. The fight is expected to happen in February.

“There’s nothing set,” said  Anderson. “They’re aiming for that, but we’ll see. Until they get an arena or location it’s all tentative.”

This is the championship shot UFC never gave Anderson in all his years with that organization despite him being highly ranked. It only took Anderson a little over a year with Bellator to get this title shot.

“I’ve been working, like you say my whole, not my whole career, but my whole life. You know your whole life you’re working for something big. I’ve been wrestling since I was knee high to a grasshopper.”

I asked Anderson if he finally feels he’s getting the respect he deserves.

“I don’t really care so much about the respect. I’m happy. I don’t feel the other stress. I actually gained more fans now in Bellator the way I’m fighting. I’m fighting more free and happy.”

Moving to Bellator was the best move Anderson could have made, and being a husband and a father of two has also been a blessing for Anderson. Defeating Nemkov and winning a title would just cap it all off. 

Anderson says he’s not surprised Nemkov advanced to the grand prix final. Nemkov is afterall, Bellator’s current light heavyweight champion. He’s 15-2 with 10 knockouts or TKOs.

“He’s one of those Russia Fedor’s (Emelianenko) prodigies. He’s really good. He’s a Sambo guy, so all the Sambo guys they’ve got one style. They bounce a lot. They can do a lot of kicks and stuff.”

“ He fights at a really high pace trying to slow everybody down early, but I feel like that’s not going to be a problem with me and my pace and my cardio.”

Anderson was home visiting family for Thanksgiving. Saturday, he stopped in at No Joke Martial Arts in Loves Park to give some pointers to local fighters.

“This is something I like doing,” said Anderson. “Today I’m just going to teach them the basic Corey  Anderson way, the ground-and pound takedown using striking to get to your wrestling.”

Monday, Anderson was back in New Jersey to begin training for his championship fight.

“We’re going to start slow and just stay active drilling things, working on the game plan constantly until they give us a date. Then we’ll turn it up and start getting guys in. I’ve got some guys from Dagestand, Russia that fight just like him.”

NOTE: We’ll keep you posted when that World Grand Prix championship fight date is set.

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