Rockton native Corey Anderson suffered his first UFC professional loss in April, but followed that with two straight wins. He recalled a recent conversation with UFC executive Dana White about his next opportunity to get into the octagon.
"I talked to him and he asked me when I want to fight again. I said I want to take the rest of the year off, go home, heal up, spend time with my family, have the holidays, and i'll be in New Jersey at the beginning of the year. After fighting, I was like, oh man, I want to take time off. Then you take the first week off, and it's like, what do I do with myself, I need to get back into camp."
Anderson is taking a breather at home, focusing on his training regimen and offering instruction to the sport's next generation at No Joke MMA gym in Loves Park.
"That's the most important thing because without us giving back to them, they don't have anyone to look up to. We can all be jerks about it and be mean to the people below us, but then who will they look up to, who will they say, I want to be that person when I grow up."
"Beasting 25/8" - 25 hours a day, 8 days a week - is Anderson's nickname, but he's taking a break from "beasting" while at home, spending time with his biggest fans.
"It's all fun, going back to relive what I did before i got to where I'm at. I went back to the trucking company I worked at and hung out on the dock for the night. Seeing the people that support you, it feels good to remember what you're doing, who it's for and how you got there."
He's rising in the UFC light heavyweight rankings, but Anderson is a humble fighter, proud to represent Northern Illinois in the spotlight.
"To me, i'm still little Corey. I'm still Corey from Rockton, IL. I'm not changing. I come back and don't mind going to a house party or a bar and chill with people. It's pretty cool to see their reaction, like wow you're here with us. I want to keep it that way, I don't want to change and be bigger than where I came from."