Eryk Anders on new UFC champ Israel Adesanya: ‘He doesn’t know who I am’

TAMPA, Fla. – Eryk Anders doesn’t have any delusions about his place in the middleweight pecking order and whether he registers anywhere on the radar of new UFC champ Israel Adesanya.

Anders (12-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) was impressed by Adesanya’s (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) “awesome” title-winning knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 this month, and he hopes to get a big win over his own on Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 19, when he meets Gerald Meerschaert (29-11 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in a 185-pound affair.

Even if he wins in a dynamic and violent manner, Anders said he’s still way off from title contention.

“He doesn’t know who I am,” Anders told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Thursday’s UFC on ESPN+ 19 media day. “I’ve met him and stuff and he seems like a dude who is very in tune to the division and what’s going on in the UFC, but I’m so far away from where he’s at. Maybe in the next year or two you could see that matchup, but I’ve got some work to do. I’m more than happy to do it.”

“Ya Boi” hopes to make some progress in his weight class this weekend, though. After bouncing between middleweight and light heavyweight, he is back in the lower division where he said he feels more comfortable.

Anders knows he’s got a dangerous opponent in Meerschaert, who has finished 27 of his 29 career wins inside the distance, but he said he won’t hold back anything against him on fight night.

“Let’s not play stupid or coy: I’m on a mission,” Anders said. “Every time I step in there it’s to do one thing and that’s win in devastating fashion.”

UFC on ESPN+ 19 takes place at Amalie Arena. The entire card streams on ESPN+.

For more from Anders, click on the video linked above.

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