Following a blistering 51-second TKO against Ryan Bader to move into the finals of the ongoing Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, Anderson proclaimed that he was the best light heavyweight in the sport, which received a fiery response from Blachowicz as the reigning UFC champion at 205 pounds.
A back-and-forth exchange on social media culminated in Blachowicz appearing on The MMA Hour earlier this week where he called Anderson a “coward and quitter” for opting to sign with Bellator rather than staying in the UFC.
“I think it’s cute,” Anderson said with a laugh in response to Blachowicz when speaking to MMA Fighting. “This man, he’s got the biggest fight of his life coming up [against Glover Teixeira], he’s fitting to fight somebody for the belt, to [signify] that he is still the greatest — in his mind, he thinks he is the greatest — yet he’s spending all his time worrying about something I said in an interview.
“I never said his name. Even with all he said and all he’s done, he goes out there and wins next weekend, I’m still going to say I’m the best in the world.”
A big part of the argument made by Blachowicz for his claim that he’s truly the best light heavyweight in the sport right now boiled down to his knockout against Anderson in their last meeting in early 2020, which served as the final fight of his career with the UFC.
Of course, Anderson is quick to point out he mauled Blachowicz in their first fight back in 2015, which ended in a lopsided unanimous decision.
Beyond what’s happened in the cage, Anderson can’t help but wonder if Blachowicz lashing out and taking shots at Bellator as if it’s a second-rate promotion compared to the UFC really comes down to money rather than actual competition.
“We’re 1-1, that’s all you can say,” Anderson said. “We’re 1-1 I know how good I am. I believe I am the best in the world. I am the best and what he’s got to say, it is what it is. I feel he’s probably a little jealous. I’m making more than him fighting in this ‘B’ league and he’s the champ.
“If he ain’t selling pay-per-views, he ain’t touching as much money as I’m making and I’m making it without any incentives. I don’t have to sell pay-per-views. I don’t have to go out and get a fight bonus. I go out there and I fight and I win and I’m making more than he makes to defend his belt. Honestly, I think he’s just a little upset about that.”
A huge part of Anderson’s excitement when signing with Bellator MMA came down to the money he would be earning versus what he was previously making in the UFC.
While he wasn’t going to reveal exact figures, Anderson says what he’s being paid in Bellator completely overshadows the money he was making while competing for the biggest combat sports promotion in the world.
“I ain’t gonna play numbers but my show money alone in my very first fight in Bellator is more than any fight with a win [bonus] and a Fight of the Night bonus [in the UFC],” Anderson revealed. “That’s just my show money. It’s a lot more than I made. The Johnny Walker fight was my biggest payday in the UFC with the win and the [performance] bonus and it still made that look like peanuts.
“You can’t pay for your kid’s college tuition with a UFC belt. But I can definitely do it with these checks.”
Ideally, Anderson would love to settle the score with Blachowicz in an actual fight but he understands it’s not likely that the UFC and Bellator will suddenly start working together.
That said, Anderson isn’t going to waste time engaging in a war of words with Blachowicz when he was simply stating his belief that he’s truly the gold standard when it comes to the light heavyweight division in MMA.
“If we somehow down the road get a trilogy fight, do a cross promotion, it is what it is. Let’s do it,” Anderson said. “I’m ready for it whenever. As for right now, you never hear Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan out here arguing with nobody over the fact that they’re the best. They believe it. They said it and they go out there and prove it. That’s all I’m going to do. I’m going to say it. I’m going to say it again — I am the best 205’er in the world. I’m going to go out there again when I fight and I’m going to prove it. I’m going to stand up and I’m going to say the same thing again.
“The fans, whoever, the media, can say whatever they want. I know what I know. The people I train with, they know. The people that see me, that know me, that follow me, they know. Like I said going into the Ryan Bader fight, he knows how good I am and the world knows how good I am. You might not like me. That’s fine. You don’t have to give me my flowers but eventually you’re going to have to realize that if he goes out there and loses this fight against Glover Teixeira next weekend, that argument is done. Cause guess who’s Glover’s last loss was? Me. He went out there and got hurt and come back and finished everybody. He never had a chance to come back and beat me. I just dominated cause I am that good.”
In fact, Anderson believes for all the ways that Blachowicz can’t stop mentioning his name lately that the Polish powerhouse might want to worry about the fight currently in front of him.
Glover Teixeira has been riding a wave of momentum over his past few fights and after spending more than 30 minutes combined in the cage with them, Anderson expects Blachowicz to have his hands full at UFC 267 on Oct. 30.
“If I was a betting man, my money would go on Glover,” Anderson said. “Because of two things I’ve seen when I fought both of them. When I fought Jan the first time, he quit. He gave up. That second and third round, I did anything I wanted. It wasn’t even a challenge to take him down. I could have pushed him and he would have fell. He was done. When I fought Glover, he finished off the round on top, trying to ground and pound, still going for the finish as hard as he can. That right there tells you a man with heart and a man that doesn’t have it.
“With Glover, as you’ve seen with all of his fights, he’s been hurt, ever since he fought me, he’s never been finished. He comes back and he gets the finish every time. He has the heart of a champion and that will. I feel Jan might hit him with the big Polish power early but if you don’t put him to sleep like “Rumble” [Anthony Johnson] did, he’s going to come back and he’s going to finish him.”