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Megan Anderson: ‘I think I match up well’ against Holly Holm

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The hard-hitting featherweight has her toughest test ahead as she faces former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm this June. Find out what she has to say regarding how this fight came to be and what she’s looking forward to.

Megan Anderson is not one to mince words.

Since her arrival on the American MMA scene in 2015, she’s been one of the most athletic and interesting fighters to come along at featherweight. She may have had an initial setback in her Invicta debut (mostly courtesy of Cindy Dandois’ underrated ground game), but she’s brutalized all four of her opponents since.

Even though she hasn’t fought in a while, she’s now ready to take on one of the trickiest strikers and one of the most decorated athletes in MMA, former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm. It’ll be just about a year and half since Anderson last stepped in a cage by the time she fights Holm at UFC 225, but she’s up for the challenge of testing herself against a very difficult opponent.

More than anything, Anderson is eager to get back to action and prove herself against one of the best. She set aside some time to discuss her thoughts on the matchup, and how she wants to make a major statement with her next performance.

Victor Rodriguez: The main thing that I wanted to start with was asking how you found out that you had been booked against Holly Holm – was this something that you had asked for, or something the UFC approached you about?

Megan Anderson: No, we spoke to the UFC about getting a fight but we didn’t ask specifically for anyone just because we weren’t really in a position to demand any particular person. So we didn’t know who they were gonna come back with, and it was like (sharp exhale, frustrated groan). Then I got a call at 5:20pm, I was about to start class and it was like “We have a fight, against Holly Holm.” I was like “OK, then!” That was pretty much how it went.

VR: Well, you’ve seen Holly fight for some time, I’d imagine. What is it about this fight in particular stylistically that motivates you?

MA: I think I match up well with Holly. I’m a big fan of hers. I respect her a lot, she’s done a lot for the sport and she’s a great athlete. I’m really excited to showcase my skills and I think the caliber of athlete that Holly is, and she’s a known name, so people tuning in to watch Holly, I think that’s a really good opportunity to introduce myself to the mainstream MMA fans.

VR: Not only that, but I’d imagine that given the hiatus that you’ve had since your last fight, I’m sure you’re very eager to return back to action…

MA: Yeah, definitely.

VR: Just to step back for a moment, I understand that prior to moving to America or even starting your career in Australia you were in the military over there. Is that what got you into fighting?

MA: No, I was in the army but it wasn’t until way after I’d left the army. I left the army in like July of 2010 and I didn’t start MMA until 2013. I was always interested in boxing, and I would go to boxing fight nights just locally on the Gold Coast where I’m from with my friends, and we had seen that there was a local MMA event. We went and got tickets and the person that we received the tickets from was a gym owner and he was a coach there. He kinda convinced me to try it, see if I liked it and that was pretty much it.

VR: And that’s interesting as you’re someone that started out as a fan of boxing and now you’re in MMA facing one of if not the most decorated boxer in the sport. Has that changed anything for you?

MA: I don’t think about that too much, to be honest. You know, Holly is an amazing athlete. She’s held belts in boxing and MMA and she’s been doing this for a really long time. I respect her a lot and I respect her skillset a lot, so I think it’s a really great opportunity to see her transition over to MMA. You know, two years ago I was sitting at a watch party watching her fight Ronda Rousey, and two years later I’m fighting her. It’s crazy how things change and things happen, and I’m just really excited for this opportunity.

VR: And have you changed anything in preparation for this bout or have you simply just been building on the fundamentals you already have?

MA: Not really, although obviously, Holly’s a southpaw so that’s something that we have to adjust to. But I train with southpaws in the gym all the time so it’s not something I’m not used to. At the end of the day, there’s only so much that our team focuses on an individual opponent. Like, you don’t want to play their game, you don’t want to wait until they do something specific for you to be able to counter or attack. What if they don’t use that certain combination or whatever it is in the fight? Then you’re like “OK, well I’ve been waiting for this to happen” and you kind of like, fall off the rails. Like, nothing’s working and you get in your head. We’re really big on working our strengths, improving what we might not necessarily be good at and really incorporating a whole MMA game. Fitting it all in, our striking to our wrestling to our grappling, making it flow and implementing our game plan.

VR: I guess it’s somewhat inevitable, but I guess I have to ask: not to look past your opponent – and I think you know where I’m going with this…

MA: Yes (laughs).

VR: We don’t want to look past Holly Holm because she’s a very game opponent and as you mentioned, a phenomenal athlete. But a win here pretty much has to get you a fight against Cris Cyborg, something that you’ve wanted for some time. You’ve called her out after your last Invicta fight, how big would that be for you? How would you feel to finally get that opportunity to face her?

MA: Oh, I’d love that opportunity. It’s something that we wanted for a while and unfortunately it didn’t happen the way we wanted. I’m hoping it ends up that way, but I’m not one to look past an opponent and that’s something that I really can’t control right now. All I can control is my performance on June 9th and that’s really what we’re focusing on.

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