Corey Anderson wants a title shot, but he’s not issuing ultimatums to the UFC just yet.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner made it clear that his next goal is to compete for the light heavyweight championship after he dismantled highly-touted prospect Johnny Walker in less than one round in their fight at UFC 244 in New York.
With four wins in a row including the stoppage against Walker, Anderson believes he’s done more than enough to earn a chance to compete for UFC gold but he claims some comments he made after the fight where it appeared he was demanding a title shot or to be released from his contract were taken out of context.
“I have to clear that up,” Anderson told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “Media’s known for clickbaiting and I think I know what reporter said that but he didn’t say the whole interview. The interview in the back they said ‘what do you want next?’ and I said I want a title fight. I want Jon Jones my next fight. Then they mentioned Dominick Reyes and I said 100 percent, Dominick Reyes has been doing his work, he’s put in his time. I wanted to fight him but he’s earned this fight, too. I’m in no rush to fight for the title right now.
“If Jon Jones wants to fight Dominick Reyes in December or January, that’s completely fine. I will take the winner of that. Then it went onto ‘but what if they try to take one of these new guys and bump them up in the rankings and put them in front of you — what if after Dominick Reyes, they push you to the back of the line again, what would you do?’. That’s when I said, if they’re going to do that to me, then release me.”
Anderson concedes that Dominick Reyes has staked a similar claim to the next title shot against reigning champion Jon Jones and he’s completely OK if the UFC opts to book that fight in the next few months.
There was no ultimatum but Anderson added that getting passed over again assuming Reyes gets to Jones next would be the time when he might be forced to start looking at other career options.
“If they’re not going to give me what I’ve earned and I’ve fought this much and done this much in this short amount of time and fought these top guys and I’ve earned my worth and they want to go ahead and put these new guys in front of me, then they can release me,” Anderson stated.
“Other than that, I’m willing to wait for my turn. But I want to fight for the belt next.”
As far as responding directly to comments made from UFC president Dana White, who vehemently denied that the promotion was somehow trying to hold him back or setting him up to lose when booking the fight against Walker, Anderson just reiterated that he only wants what he believes he’s earned and that’s a title shot.
“I want to fight for belt next, then I saw what Dana said about ‘Corey being dumb, he talks too much, take the fights we give you’,” Anderson said. “I have no problem taking the fights you give me but at the same time, I don’t want to be at the point where they’re trying to bump up some new contender again, some guy they picked up on short notice or has a great post-fight interview and they try to put him in front of me to fight for the title. That’s what I was saying.”
With the win over Walker in November, Anderson is planning to take some time off during the holidays to spend with his family and during that break he’d happily watch Jones defend his title against Reyes.
“I want to fight Jon Jones for the title and I want to fight for the title next,” Anderson explained. “I said after [the fight] to Joe Rogan, I’ve got things going on the rest of the year. I know Jon wants to fight in December. I know Dominick can fight in December cause he didn’t get hurt [in his last fight]. But I have things going on all of November so ideally and logistically it wouldn’t make sense for me to say I want to fight in December, give me that one. Because I wouldn’t be prepared.
“But I want that fight. I want that fight as soon as possible. As soon as I’m back in the gym and he agrees to it, let’s go.”
When the dust settles, Anderson just wants to face the winner, although he’s quite confident that the end result will still be a showdown with Jones at some point in 2020.
“With one arm tied behind his back and his eyes closed,” Anderson responded when asked if he believes Jones would beat Reyes. “Everybody has a puncher’s chance. Dominick Reyes has done his part and he did his work and I’ve got to give him that. He’s been earning his stripes and he’s been killing it. But when you watch Dominick Reyes, he’s still not a complete mixed martial artist. He’s young. He still hasn’t been tested to the point where he gets hurt and he has to come back from adversity.
“I’ve been hurt in fights. I’ve been dropped. I’ve lost fights and come back. I’ve been knocked out and come back. He hasn’t had that mental test yet so when he gets in there against Jon, and he gets into that first tough situation, I don’t think he would handle it well. I feel like he would crumble. He’s going to fold.”