This is the second part of BloodyElbow.com's interview with Bellator fighter Vaughn Anderson. In case you missed the first part, check out as he discusses everything about MMA in China: Anderson: 'The UFC is not as tempting for fighters here'
For majority of his life, Vaughn Anderson has been situated in Asia, mostly competing and coaching fighters in China, earning an impressive record and establishing himself as one of the key figures of the sport in the region. It was only a matter of time until the big show came calling, and while there were mumblings of the UFC being interested in him, it was Bellator who took a shot and entered him in their welterweight tournament.
"I reached out to Bellator last season when Paul Daley was removed from the welterweight tournament," Anderson said as he talked about how the deal started, "They put me in this season's tournament and I am very happy for the opportunity to be fighting often and for a possible shot at a championship."
Born in Manila and having lived in various countries all over the world, this well-traveled Canadian fighter has fought all over Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, but surprisingly, he has never fought in his home town. When asked if there were any significance to fighting in North America for the first time, he simply shrugged it off.
"America is still not Canada. I also chose to live in China," he said, "I am proud of my background, but I did not choose where I was born or my nationality. Truthfully, I never really feel at home."
"Luckily there is MMA, and no matter where in the world I am, the cage is where I feel at home." Anderson states, "I understand its geography, culture and laws. I am always excited to return to the cage. It is my home, and wherever they come from, my opponents are always very unwelcome guests."
When he does make this long awaited return at Bellator's milestone event, it will be over a year since he last competed. His layoff came after suffering serious injuries during his last fight, a win over a highly touted Korean in 'Hungry' Yang Hae Jun, and his fourth straight bout at heavyweight.
"I broke both hands in that last fight," Vaughn explains as he talks about his recovery, "I am used to getting injured and having long lay offs, and I have had a lot of time to prepare for this fight. I expect to win in the first round as usual."
"I am 5 weeks out and already on weight. I fight heavier because I am offered fights there, not because I can't make the cut," he states when asked about dropping in weight for the first time in years, "I am even thinking of trying a fight at 155 lbs sometime in my career."
He has spent the past few years competing at heavyweight, and while the possibility of dropping as low as lightweight is certainly intriguing, he will first have to deal with his ever controversial opponent at Bellator's welterweight division -- A fighter who hasn't exactly been complementary of Anderson and his skills.
"Wonder who I will face in round 2 of the Bellator tourney?" War Machine has stated in the past, "Not looking past Vaughn Anderson, but let's face it, how can he beat me?"
Most people in the US haven't seen Anderson compete, which is a stark contrast to his high profile opponent. This has led some people to agree with War Machine and have him pegged the favorite. To Vaughn though, it's nothing new.
"I have been the underdog for most of my fights. Real fighters challenge themselves, and War Machine is the complete opposite" he exclaimed, "He ain't 'about to work,' he's afraid of hard work. He's always looking for the easiest way out, doing porn and stuff like that just because he's lazy. I have absolute confidence I will beat this joker."
The fighter formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver has been saying that while 'Blud' has a good record, he's a perfect match up and he doesn't really have the skills to win against him. Anderson has heard some of these statements, and didn't seem to take kindly to it.
"Jon focuses on strength and power and is a brawler and a ground and pound guy," Vaughn said as he talks about how they match up stylistically, "Don't ask me, ask others what he does well. Is there anyone that says he is a good fighter?"
"I have knocked out, often brutally, many guys far stronger that his frame will ever allow, and not to mention they are talented too. I have beaten wrestlers, strikers and BJJ guys. I am undefeated at welterweight. I don't believe Jon has an edge on me anywhere"
Given the chance to respond Jon's statements, Vaughn didn't hesitate to release some vitriol of his own.
"I laugh when he continues to mention my record every time he says my name. Obviously he is worried or he wouldn't always mention my win streak throughout various weight classes,"
"I've also heard him mention 'The War Gods.' The God of War is prayed to for justice, not terror. I love hearing him talk." he exclaims, "This guy brags about getting in fights and going to jail, but is numb to the side effects, like letting down his coaches that guide him, and disappointing training partners that bleed for him in training camps. Jon is so proud of these same actions that shame his family, and broke his ex-wife's heart. He thinks he will live this way and his 'War Gods' with reward him with an upset over me? Ha!"
"No fighter is as selfish. He hurts good people. I wonder how he lives with himself?" he continues, "The truth is he can't, he is doped up on anxiety meds because his reality is just too frightening to face. It must influence his thinking."
"Jon, weaken the dose son, and you might see the outcome of our fight ending more realistically, with you letting down coaches and family... yet again."