From the Gold Coast to the Midwest, Invicta's Megan Anderson is on quite the MMA journey
Megan Anderson traveled from her home in Australia to Missouri in September for her Invicta FC debut. She hasn't been back since.
All it took was one training session at Glory MMA & Fitness and she was hooked.
"I'd never been taken down," Anderson told MMA Fighting. "I've never been hit more than I had in my entire life. It's not really the best way to have a light bulb moment, but I knew ... this is where I needed to be to be able to get to the next level in my career."
Anderson (4-2) lost her fight with Cindy Dandois by second-round submission at Invicta FC 14 on Sept. 12. That further cemented to Anderson that she needed a change and had hit a ceiling at her old gym in Queensland.
There was no waffling, either. Anderson made the decision that she wasn't even going to travel back to Australia after the fight. She would get her work visa approved and make Lee's Summit, Mo., her adopted home.
"I definitely think it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do that, to pick up their whole life and move to a different country," Anderson said. "I came over here not knowing that I was going to live here and then all of a sudden I'm living here and I didn't get to say goodbye to my friends, I didn't get to say goodbye to my family. I didn't have any of my stuff. I think it takes a different kind of person and I think it really shows what sacrifices you're willing to make to achieve your goals and get to that next level in your career."
Being away from home is not new to Anderson. She was in the Australian Army for 2 ½ years while attending university. Anderson said this current experience is similar. She rents a room in a home with six or seven other fighters, all of them male. Anderson says all of her roommates are "pretty cool" and she doesn't mind the living situation at all.
Anderson, 25, is from the Gold Coast, a gorgeous tourist destination known for beaches and surfing. The temperature is in the 70s and 80s almost year-round, not unlike Los Angeles or San Diego. Anderson hasn't been a huge fan of the Midwest winter, but she's dealing.
"I don't really do much besides train," Anderson said. "So it's kind of like home except when I'm done training, I drive on the opposite side of the road. And we drive on the opposite side of the car as well."
Anderson will compete in her first fight since becoming a Missouri resident Saturday night at Invicta FC 15 in Costa Mesa, Calif. The powerful 6-foot Aussie will take on fellow featherweight prospect Amber Leibrock in the night's opener. Anderson is far more confident going into this fight having a solid four months of training at Glory, which is owned by UFC fighter James Krause.
"She's getting better every day," said Anthony Gutierrez, her teammate and a fighter for Titan FC. "It's really cool to watch. She's a specimen. She's got a bright future, I think. She's got good hands and kicks."
Anderson felt like she wasn't able to execute her game plan against Dandois, who pushed her up against the cage and took her down. It's Anderson's desire to stand up and use her advantages in height, reach and power. She said she's more comfortable with the all-around aspects of MMA now.
"I like striking, but yeah, who doesn't?" Anderson said. "To me now it's not just about striking. It's more like a chess game. It's about picking my shots and movement and finding weaknesses in my opponent and holes that I can capitalize on."
Anderson took a huge gamble when she moved almost 9,000 miles away in September. She misses her family and friends. But this is about her career and her aspirations. Anderson feels like she made the right call.
"I talk to them as much as possible," Anderson said of her family. "They know that this is what I need to do to achieve my goals. I think if I went home and I didn't give it 110 percent, I'd probably regret it. This is one of the sacrifices that I have to make to be able to get where I want to get to."http://www.mmafighting.com/2016/1/15/10763426/from-the-gold-coast-to-the-midwest-invictas-megan-anderson-is-on