Corey Anderson: Bellator light heavyweight division is better than UFC’s

Corey Anderson signed recently with Bellator MMA, and in a recent exclusive interview with Damon Martin for MMA Fighting, argued that his new light heavyweight division is better than the UFC’s.

Here are the best five in the UFC:
Champion: Jan Blachowicz
1. Glover Teixeira
2. Thiago Santos
3. Dominick Reyes
4. Aleksandar Rakic
5. Jiri Prochazka

Bellator does not yet publish official rankings, but a reasonable guess is something like:
Champion: Vadim Nemkov 
1. Anthony Johnson
2. Yoel Romero
3. Ryan Bader
4. Corey Anderson
5. Phil Davis
Plus Lyoto Machida, middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi superfighting up, and several other world-class fighters.

Bellator acquired top light heavyweight talent from the UFC, and not when they were at the end of their career, as for example Anderson Silva is today. Johnson and Bader were #5 when they changed promotions. Romero was #4. Davis and Anderson were #6.

And there are head to head comparisons. The UFC’s #1 contender Teixeira lost to Johnson, Anderson, and Davis. The #2 UFC contender Santos lost to Mousasi. And of course, it goes the other way too. For example, #5 UFC contender Prochazka beat Bellator’s current champ Nemkov in RIZIN in 2015. But on balance, Anderson believes Bellator is better at 205.

“I just feel right now Bellator has the upper hand,” said Anderson. “[Jon] Jones has left. They’ve got these hype trains. These young guys UFC has coming in they’re trying to hype up but I feel like their legitimacy aren’t like the vets that were there that are in Bellator now.”

“I was No. 4 when I left. The only person I hadn’t fought was Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes. I had beat Jan Blachowicz once and Anthony Smith was above me, but we see where Anthony Smith’s at now. He just got first win in a while against an unranked guy.

“Then you’ve got me, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, Yoel Romero, two guys right there that fought for titles. Me, who was on the cusp of a title. Then you’ve got Nemkov, who just beat Ryan Bader. You’ve got ‘Rumble,’ who beat Ryan Bader. You’ve got Phil Davis. You’ve got all these names who have already fought at the top of the UFC.”

“They say ‘oh these guys are washed up, they got cut from the UFC.’ No, they got treated wrong and they left. … That kid Brandon Moreno was cut from the UFC and he came back and fought for the title. Being cut doesn’t mean nothing. You get cut for saying the wrong thing. You get cut for having a couple of bad fights. It happens.”

“Dana’s always going to say his division’s the best. He’s going to say whatever he has to bag the reason why he had to let these people go, make it seem legit, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you say. World champs or not, they were some of the best in the world.”

What do you think UG, with the apparently permanent departure of Jon Jones to heavyweight, is Bellator better at light heavyweight than the UFC?

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