Bellator 170: “Ortiz vs Sonnen” comes to The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., this Saturday night (Jan. 21, 2017), featuring a Spike TV-televised main event that is predicted to be a ratings sensation — “The Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz vs. “The Bad Guy” Chael Sonnen at Light Heavyweight. It should be a show for the ages.
Bellator has lined up a strong cast of supporting players around that fight, including perennial Lightweight contenders Derek Campos and “Barbaric” Derek Anderson, each hoping to move closer to a championship fight with “Iron” Michael Chandler. Anderson, however, could have also moved up to a Welterweight title shot a few months ago. Indeed, Anderson was ready and willing to fight Paul Daley at Bellator 163 in Nov. 2016, but “Semtex” fell ill after the weigh-in and the fight was scrapped.
Nevertheless, with a fight now at 155 pounds on the horizon and a longer training camp than he planned for, Anderson spoke with MMAmania.com about now facing Campos, although he doesn’t mind that he still got paid for the fight that fell through.
“I thought (Daley) was trying to play a head game with me or something like that, a little sign of disrespect or something. I mean shit, I was gonna step in the cage, I was ready to fight no matter what. Came to find out that he was sick and you know I was glad I got my show money either way. I thought maybe I’d just turn around and fight again real soon after that, but I had myself a whole camp instead to get ready for Derek Campos so I’m ready to kick some ass.”
The whole reason Anderson took the Daley fight was because Bellator didn’t have any Lightweights ready to face him so he was willing to go up in weight to stay busy. But, thanks to Campos, that’s no longer necessary.
“It actually worked out good. I mean, yeah, you know 170’s in my future, but I’m a Lightweight right now, I’m right there in title contention. I want to make my statement and get my belt. I’m gonna make some money beating up all these Lightweights because nobody’s got nothing for me down here.”
And even though he’s going to fight at Lightweight this weekend, he hasn’t ruled out being matched up with Daley again somewhere down the road.
“Yeah, sure! I think stylistically he matches up decently enough. I like that fight. His kind of fighter in general — I’m not going to look at anybody like (Daley) like they’re anything more than I am. I’m ready to fight anybody, you know what I mean?”
Fans who have watched “Barbaric” in the cage know precisely what he means, but right now all of his ruthless aggression is focused on the other Derek standing across from him, with both men seeking a third straight win.
“I’m ready to get my third win. Sucks I’ve gotta take his winning streak down, but that’s the name of the game. He comes forward a lot, and you guys know I go forward a lot, but you know that’s mostly because I’m just trying to punch the whole time. People get a little worried about that and they try to go backward to get away from my punches. If he wants to come forward he’s gonna be right there getting eaten up in the face all night long.”
It may seem like Anderson already has Campos figured out, but not so fast, because the other Derek has five knockouts, five submissions and seven decisions. That variety of victories doesn’t given Anderson any pause.
“Well, I’m a well rounded fighter myself. I think I’m well rounded and better, too. Anything he’s got for me, it’s not going to be good for him, because I’ve got more for him.”
With five knockouts, six submissions and three decisions of his own Anderson has a point. One might even wonder if they are mirror images of each other, but Anderson insists he wants Bellator gold more than Campos does.
“I don’t think they can hide Chandler from me much longer! I’ve beaten all these lightweights, and you know, I don’t think anybody else deserves a shot much more than I do. If they wanted to give it to somebody else then they should fight me first. I’ll be like a gatekeeper or something like that. You know I’m just trying to get my money, get my belt. Whoever’s next in line, it doesn’t matter, I’ll knock ’em all down.”
That’s a great idea save for three things — he has to win Saturday, Chandler says he wants Josh Thomson, and that fight was already supposed to happen once before. In the meantime, Anderson has to focus on being at his best.
“I’m working my ass off this whole camp, eating real good, I’m dedicated. I’m ready to fight man — let’s do it!”
Anderson is thrilled to be part of a mega card like “Ortiz vs. Sonnen” where he hopes to show a big audience on Spike TV what he’s all about.
“It’s awesome man! I’m glad that Bellator is giving me the opportunity, and the credit as a fighter that they want me on this card and on the main card especially. I’m starting to get the recognition I deserve and I’m very appreciative of that.”
Stay tuned to see which Derek will be the best of the best and move ahead of all of the rest.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded in the video player above and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.
Source:: mma mania