The day Corey Anderson stepped foot in the Ultimate Fighter gym he had been training MMA for less than a year and a half after being convinced to try the sport by his college wrestling coach, Ben Askren.
Now Anderson (5-0) stands as the latest light heavyweight winner from the long running reality show following a first round bludgeoning of former housemate Matt Van Buren at the TUF 19 Finale on Sunday night.
While his background comes from grappling, Anderson has worked tirelessly on his hands and spent his entire training camp working with his former coach Frankie Edgar and his team in New Jersey while living in Edgar’s father-in-law’s house.
Anderson wasted no time going after the 6’5" Van Buren with long, looping punches and once he caught his jaw, he smelled blood and went for the kill. While the fight only lasted one minute and one second, Van Buren should still be applauded for his toughness as he tried his best to stick it out and find a way to escape Anderson’s pressure.
There was no escape, however, as Anderson scooped up and dropped Van Buren on his back and went after the finish with a barrage of punches. Van Buren covered up, but the referee saw enough and stopped the carnage before it got any worse.
Anderson is the latest Ultimate Fighter winner, and as he stood in the Octagon with UFC president Dana White handing him his trophy, the Illinois native nearly dropped a few tears while talking to commentator Jon Anik, but he held it together.
"I want to cry but I can’t do it on camera," Anderson said with a smile after picking up the win.
There’s no doubt that Anderson’s rapidly developing skill set will be a welcome addition to a small, but thriving light heavyweight division. With his hands catching up his wrestling, Anderson will be a tough challenge for a great many 205-pounders right now and in the future as well.