DeAndre Anderson is a mixed martial artist who most recently competed as a Featherweight for King of The Cage. A high school wrestler, Anderson transitioned into Mixed Martial Arts and has since gone 4-0 as a professional.
DeAndre Anderson: So uh obviously uh very busy uh with a newborn and everything, but how is uh? How has the pandemic been on on you and the family um? So it’s been. It’S been really tough on me um, especially at first, because i had a boxing match lined up for april, so i had just came off of one in february i was um. I was starting to get back into camp and everything and then everything got shut down. So my job got shut down. I wasn’t able to work um. I couldn’t train i and it kind of kind of messed with me minimally, because you know being stuck in the house for so long there’s only so much stuff you can do at the house. You know working out and then i just kind of got kind of got bored. You know got complacent um, so it was. It’S been really tough on me um, but everything it started. Turning back around around this time, like probably for the past couple of months, you know, i think it’s, i think it’s different for people who have been uh athletes, their entire life. So i got i was. I was athletic growing up, but you know, as as years go by, i slowly start decreasing that, but as someone who’s competitive and always has been just being like all right, no jim, all of a sudden uh, it’s probably hard to to get used to that. You know waking up in the morning and not having a reason to go to the gym, not having a reason to do anything, so it probably had to feel a little bit weird yeah. It did um, so i’ve been competing in sports since i was six. So i’m 23 now so over half of my life, all i’ve done is just trying. You know i would go from one season to another, then go back in the season and even when it was my off season, which was like basketball time before i started doing the wrestling stuff in um in middle school and in high school it it just like. I would be training with my dad, you know from because this is what i always wanted to do. I always wanted to be a pro athlete. I just thought i was going to be a little bit bigger and living in alabama. You know we all have the dreams of playing college football and going to the pros, so that was that was my thing. That’S what i wanted to get ready for and then you know um until i got to him where i was about 10 or 11. When i started realizing that um, i wasn’t going to hit a growth spurt like everybody else. It’S uh, it’s funny how you say that it’s like so many people have so many like different uh goals in life and it’s funny how size is just genetically i’m. Not i’m not. You know, i’m not a gronkowski, i’m never going to be six foot. Five. 280, like that’s, not it’s just not going to happen. That being said, how, when did the idea of you know what i’m going to be a mixed, martial artist come around? Was that, right after you finish wrestling or when did you start, you know floating that idea? Um, so i was, let’s see i was 10 or 11 and um tim silva came and fought against ray mercer and birmingham alabama and um. I think i had. I had either just finished my first season of wrestling, or it was a year right before i was going in to start wrestling um, but i seen ray merson knock him out, and that was probably like the coolest thing. I’Ve ever seen in my life um, especially just like the size difference as far as height you know, seeing somebody shorter go and just chop somebody down like a tree. That was probably the coolest thing i ever seen in my life. So i knew from that moment. That’S what i wanted to do um. I always thought that i would wrestle going to college and wrestle and then go into um, mma and everything, but i wrestled one state championship. My senior year went to college that didn’t really work out as far as the money part, because you know college wrestling programs don’t have the money to just give out full scholarships to everybody. They have a limited amount of scholarships they can give. So that was a big decision on me coming back home after i wrestled a few matches and everything i did pretty good. You know only people i lost to they were ranked in the country and it was close matches, but i just financially couldn’t do it anymore? Um so i came back home and um, i messaged my friend seth and i was like hey. I want to start fighting and i had already wanted to do it. Then i started fighting and um like a few months later. I only only trained for like two months before i had my first fight when i was 19., then everything else just kind of started to fall into place. One of the jon jones is very similar. I think he was in the ufc, like eight months after he started training and it’s crazy how how much of wrestling background can go um and how it gives you such an advantage. That being said, what was the hardest thing to pick up like when you started? You know learning to stand up, but learning the jiu jitsu, which which element was the uh the most difficult for you um, my my biggest difficulty um guard passing i sucked at it then like, if i’m like a guard for me as a wrestler like i’m pinning You, like i’m used to being in in that situation, like people hate being on that so they’ll turn and give you the back and wrestling, but um jiu jitsu was probably the hardest thing for me to learn um. It took me a lot of time to really start picking it up because i went into you know just straight mma training, like we train submissions, a few submissions. You know um, you learn the basic guard passes and everything and just um submission defense, but everything i did was just for fighting purposes. It wasn’t like i never just i didn’t until last year i didn’t go to a jiu jitsu gym. You know um. It was just my mma gym, so we just we basically just kind of did everything off of what i already knew. If i wanted to get past somebody’s guard, i just didn’t land in it when i took them down. You know that was my first year of fighting yeah. I started just straight into jiu jitsu, so for me it was a clean slate. I couldn’t imagine having like you know, knowing how to do it one way and then being like. No, that’s the wrestling way to do it. This is actually how you do it for jiu jitsu. It’S like trying to like re. Rework everything that you know and trying to to adapt to a whole new style it’d be very, very odd um. One of the things i did notice about your your career was usually, when guys start getting into the sport they’re, like you know what i’m just going to go. Fight on the regional scene beat on guys with like a one and 65 record like just like get. You know, just get four or five wins under their belt against you know, nobodies, essentially yeah you jumped right into it like king of the cage right away. What was the reason behind that? Was it just that they’re, the only organization that was interested or what was it? So when i did my amateur stuff, i went and i competed in their um. Their competition like the world championship thing right where they give out a crack um. I got the 100 000 contract and everything – and you know i was like well, i could go and fight regional and fight against nobodies for 600 bucks, or i can make two g’s for my first fight. All this is a no-brainer like this is what i’m doing you know and um. I’Ve always, and that was like. I fought three more amateur fights and i even planned on fighting. You know once i got to where i was like five and one or four and one i was ready to go pro um. I had actually announced that i was gon na go pro like before. I had even had those other fights, but the money wasn’t there and i didn’t want to fight on the card and make 600. You know it. It meant more to me to build up my value before i jumped into being a pro and um. You know when i jumped in i i knew i was ready. I feel like if i go and i train um there’s not many people that can beat me, especially in mma. You know i can get out boxed and just strictly boxing um or i can get beat and kickboxing in jiu jitsu. But you know when it’s mma when i get to do everything and there’s so many different options for me um. I feel like i’m one of the best fighters in the country best fighters in the world. You know i didn’t feel like that. I still haven’t felt like the competition level was there, even if i, even when i have been fighting guys, that we’re high level then um, what a normal four-note fighter would have had it just coming from wrestling, i felt like wrestling is a is way tougher than Mma, for me, one of the uh one of the things i did notice, though, is that that you stay active in other disciplines as well. So, like you said, you said, like you know, i might be able to get out boxed, but not not in mma like if i were to fight the same guy in mma, and you prove that i mean you, you eat a guy in mma that you had Previously lost to and and was it boxing or kickboxing, you know yeah so so describe what it was like to kind of lose to him and kickboxing and then transition to mma and finish him like did it feel special, so that was uh. That was like one of the most meaningful fights for me, um that i’ve ever had just on a personal level. Um, i still don’t like the guy, like that’s just i there’s very few people that there’s there’s only one person that i dislike, that i’ve ever fought. You know um, i have pretty decent relationships with everybody that i’ve fought. You know i can. I respect him and i respect him too, but um we had a kickboxing fight. You know he started talking, i’m not much of a talker as far as you know. If we, if i say something about somebody, i really mean it – i’m not trying to hype up a fight um. So he said he was gon na knock me out and we went and we were doing and we were doing this fight and he just ran the whole time, and i was so i was so pissed off in the kickboxing that i was. I didn’t find me and jumped about ended up like six feet in the air or something because i went up um over top of them and um. I just felt really crazy in that fight and i still feel like i won um. It was actually controversy, and that was very, very close yeah. It like that available false confidence that he was just a better fighter than me until we went into the mma world and then went to sleep and never seen anybody go stiff from getting put in a choke. But i guess it was the first time for everything that was that was well deserved. It was uh man, it was a fun fight uh. It was right there at the uh at the buzzer too, not a whole lot of time left yeah um. I actually i’m grateful that you know there was a time right there, because i don’t think the referee noticed. I noticed that he was out um. I actually moved his legs over and everything, but you know i i did as much as i just like him um. I wouldn’t want him to be permanently messed up from a fight, so i’m glad that it didn’t have to go another 10 seconds for them to notice. You know because he was out for a couple of minutes even after you know, i put him out, so it was a. It was super satisfying though you know, that was your last fight that was almost a year ago now. Does it feel a bit? It does? Does this lay off like? Has it helped you mentally, or are you just dying to get back in there um? Yes, you know i’m since i i had my first few amateur fights. When then, i got, you know where amateurs don’t want to fight me, yeah then i had to have like. I would have six months between the fight. You know for my last year of me being an amateur, i had a fight and martin. Then i had one in december or something like that, so it was like a um, i’m used to long layoffs, but that’s why i started doing the kickboxing unboxing to kind of kind of keep me more active um. You know as far as mma i can. I can jump back in it’s pretty easy. I just have to be in the right training camp forward. One of the things i noticed – and you talked about it earlier based on your size – is that you bounce around a little bit. It’S like your fight at 135 fight at 140. 145. Where is your home? Where do you feel the most comfortable um honestly, it’s gon na sound like weird, but like i, i honestly don’t as long as you know, i’m not fighting against a 55 or that cuts from like 80, something i don’t really care. You know because i feel like yes, size is a big thing in combat sports. You know um, but if i’m smarter than that person – and i know how to work around it – i just see it as a challenge that i can get around um. It’S typically guys that are a little bit bigger than me they’re on as fast and i have. I have a lot of strength in my body um to be the size that i am so um. I can get up to let’s see doing quarantine and with all this um we got back from the hospital last wednesday and i was 172., so i mean i can get up. If i need to, i can get back down um. I think that 35 is going to be where i you know, try to make my run at my first run, but i could see myself going up to 45 and um, possibly later in my career at 55 um. Just i just have to build my body for that weight. Class, yeah, you’re, still really young in the sport um 23 years of age. This is going to sound more like an interview question. But where do you see yourself in five years? Are you, do you see yourself ufc bellator competing worldwide? What is the ultimate goal wherever the money is, but i would love to be in the ufc um, that’s the most notoriety and um. You know. Whenever people talk to me, they’re, like you fight ufc, nobody says you fight bellator, you fight one fc, you know um, i i respect those organizations and i know they have a lot of guys that could compete in the ufc and stuff but um just for everybody. Around me, i think they want to see me in the ufc um. So that’s what i you know i want to. I want to make everybody in the south proud and um, especially in birmingham alabama, is proud, and i think that’s where they would know they want to see me at so that’s where i want to be there’s a lot of doors right now open for that. You know with things like the contender series and all these uh other events. Have you considered something like that, like the contender series or or uh? What’S the other one, the big one that rampage jackson coached, what’s called the ultimate fighter yeah? Have you considered something like that? I have um, you know it’s something that like me and my coach and my manager and stuff. We always we talk about, but i just don’t i’m not trying to i’m not trying to rush it. You know i got i’m young and um, i’m not going to be one of those guys that gets in. You know off a great performance in the contender series and then gets cut um once i get in i’m going to be in and i’m not getting cut, or i’m only leaving when i feel like leaving. You know um because i feel like if i can go and i can still fight, even if it’s like you know, tough guys out on what would be kind of the regional circuit um. That just builds me for when i get into the ufc or bellator um. Just just to make a title run, you know i want to get in and stay in and then want to be a champ for a long time. So you know if that opportunity presents itself, then i’ll be more than happy to take it. If i feel that i’m ready for that, you know i’m not looking at the being ready for the contender series fight, i’m looking at being ready to be in the ufc with you know the best fighters in the world. Those are the only people that i feel like can give me competition as uh as someone who’s both wrestled at a pretty high level and now competed in mma. I really i want to talk about guys like henry cejudo and daniel cormier um, i’m 100 mma. I never wrestled. I never thought any of that, never even followed it. I’Ve only ever followed mma. So for me, their legacy doesn’t mean as much and and what their accolades don’t mean as much as someone who’s maybe done both so as a wrestler who’s. Now, transitioned into mma or like how much uh like how how impressive is henry cejudo’s gold medal and double champs status? Um. That’S probably the i think, he’s the greatest combat sports athlete of all time, um, and it’s because you know winning the gold medal in wrestling. Um there’s a lot that goes into it and he won at a young age um, it’s not like he, you know, went through three or four different cycles and then he finally won one. You know he went in, he won it and then he he accomplished his goal, um and then he transitioned into mma, even though he had a tough little goal as far as weight cutting at first um. He he really transformed himself. You know looking at him, you wouldn’t really be able to tell that you can’t ever say that he was just a wrestler. You watch him fight and see how he’s evolved um, how he’s head kicking people that are supposed to be the best strikers in the world and you know knocking them out and um. I think that that’s the one of the most impressive things in the world um that would be you know, i think that it’s kind of like if somebody goes and they go and compete in jiu, jitsu and win adcc or something like that. You know um. It’S. I think that’s the same level um, i think it’s close, but as far as when that olympic gold medal, i think the olympics holds so much weight as far as as a culture thing and um as a world thing that it’s kind of hard to you know Just dismiss that um yeah, i was uh. I was having this conversation with a friend of mine and they’re, like yeah, there’s, essentially the same sport and i’m like no, it’s not it’s literally like winning speed, skating and then winning a gold medal in hockey like it’s completely different sports yeah they’re, both on skates. But like not the same thing at all and uh yeah, i think it just shows how how how great their legacies are both to judos and dc’s cejudo obviously has a gold medal, though, but absolutely uh crazy athletes. I want to end on a on a on a on mma note, i guess uh as a as a new father um, you know less than a week old, now, that’s crazy to think about um. If your daughter comes to you in five six seven years and says i want to be a wrestler or i want to fight, i know you probably haven’t even had enough time to think about that, but is that something that you’d you know consider or are you Like a protective father, that’s like no! No! No! I wrestled i’ve gotten injured. I don’t want that so um i want i. I actually want her to um. I’M definitely like as soon as she gets to where she’s three or four she’s gon na be in jiu jitsu um, just because just the safety aspect of it and the confidence that it builds. You know now, as far as you know, the fighting aspect, i would love for her to want to do that um. If that’s what she wanted, then i’m going i’m going to support her and make sure that she has all the resources that i didn’t have growing up, because i didn’t know that i wanted to do that. Um but alabama just approved girl wrestling like female wrestling and having their own division instead of just wrestling with the guys um. So i think that the sport of female wrestling is growing right now in this country, um alabama’s, just one of the latest in many of the other states that have started to really push that, because some of my favorite wrestlers that i i like to watch and That have some of the best technique in the world. There are women wrestling from the u.s um, so i would love to see her do that if that’s something that she wanted to do, but if she didn’t want to yeah it’d be fine with me. You know. I wouldn’t be disappointed, hopefully i’ll have a little boy so and then i would hope that he would um. I would hope that he would want to fight, but you know it’s. It’S whatever makes her happy yeah. I know it’s still early. It’S only six days. So already i i already have stuff planned. I already already have plans to get the ghee and get her some little gloves and everything man um. I have plans, i’m just hoping that that’s what she wants. I love it man. I uh i like to see that it’s always it’s always nice. When people are like yeah. I want it for my daughter as as someone who wouldn’t have been allowed as a kid. It’S great it’s great to see my parents would have killed me uh. I guess last question um. Is there anyone you want to plug anybody? You want to thank or include your twitter and instagrams or anything below um. So, let’s see i’m going to start out with my job. I actually um work at axe throwing place. It’S called civilized, throwing um we’re located all over the southeast, so i want to start off with them. I would like to shout out my gym covered jiu jitsu brazilian jiu jitsu, my coaches, kurt and john they’ve done a great job. As far as just helping me in my career, i would like to thank my management team, maurice blanco and vice sports group. I just signed with them within the past few months, they’ve been doing great job as far as just making sure that i’m staying on task and um getting me fight offers and everything like that um. I would like to thank my shirt. Sponsors um, civilizing, savage clothing. They ain’t doing a great job as far as getting on my work walk out stuff um nick is like one of my favorite people. I got to meet him for the first time. I drove all the way atlanta just to meet him a couple years ago and then we’ve been close ever since um, and also my tattoo shop say gold um they’re, probably like totally like the closest people that i i’m with like all the time, um i’ll just Go into a tattoo shop and just chill i love it, and then they get me neck, tats and stuff. So that’s pretty cool um and that’s about it. Let’S see my twitter um, it is the protege mma 135 and the same thing is my instagram. So go and check me out um. I also do music too. So, hopefully, people go and check that out um. I feel like i’m better than tywin woodley at rapids. Oh, you know i i mean i would do a song with him, but i would hope that he wouldn’t mess the song up. You know i love that yeah there’s a few guys. Brian keller, here raps too um yeah, there’s a few there’s a few guys who, who can do it all both rap and uh, and fight yeah? Well um, thank you for having me on today. It’S probably you know. I love doing this and i hope you have me back home man, man. I will for sure we’ll uh we’ll have to have you back on. I appreciate it man i wanted to get a guy up and coming really a good threat and someone who you can see in the ufc or bellator one of these other organizations soon. So i really appreciate you coming on man and all the best stay safe and uh good luck with your uh, your next fight! All right! Thank you. Talk to you later man,