Aussie Featherweight Megan Anderson: “I’m tall, I’m tattooed, and I’m a lot crazy”
The penultimate day of Aussie WMMA Week is here as we talk with featherweight Megan Anderson about her MMA journey, her ink, and her quest for greatness.
What do you want people on this side of the Atlantic to know about you, including how you got involved in MMA?
My name is Megan Anderson, I’m 25-years-old and I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolfpack! I was born and raised on the beautiful Gold Coast and I began training mixed martial arts when I was 23. Funnily enough, I actually always wanted to do boxing and would go and watch a lot of boxing fights. I went to pick up tickets once for a local MMA fight night and the promoter convinced me to come in and have a trial and after the first night I was hooked! I was bullied throughout my schooling so I’ve dealt with a lot of confidence and self-esteem issues, so I’m a very big advocate for anti-bullying. I’m not hard to miss and I’m definitely one Aussie fighter to remember.
What’s your style of fighting?
I’m tall for my weight division so I like to use that to my advantage. Even though I like to use my range it doesn’t mean I’ll ever back up in a fight. I’m constantly coming forward aggressively but in a smart and calculated way. I’m not scared to get inside the pocket and trade. Knees and elbows are my thing and I’ve got a tight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game on the ground. I’ve got great takedown defense and if the fight goes to the ground, it’ll be because I wanted it to go there. I’m always looking to do damage and finish my opponent in the most brutal way. I’m a pretty well rounded and intelligent fighter, but I’m always going to look for that knock out.
Tell us about your upcoming XFC fight and opponent, and how you got the fight.
My next fight is on May 23 for XFC Australia and my opponent is local Aussie fighter Helen Malone. The Featherweight division is pretty small here in Australia so we were struggling to find opponents for me as I’ve fought pretty much everyone. However, Justin from XFC came to us with this match and we said yes so I can stay active and get some more time in the cage.
What will you bring to the cage? What will you show us? What challenges will you face?
I bring a different kind of ferocity to the cage than other fighters. I’m extremely focused, remove all emotion and I go in there to get the job done in a cold and ruthless manner. I’m an aggressive fighter but I also like to be controlled and technical, waiting to pick my opportunities and essentially break my opponent. I don’t feel scared by anything my opponent can bring to the cage as I’m a better fighter and athlete in all areas and on another level to her. It’ll be a matter of how long she’s willing to survive. You can expect a finish.
Should you win, what next? How much of 2015 is planned out for you at this point?
Well, I’ve recently just signed with American Management company Posterboy Fighters, which is pretty exciting. We haven’t got much planned for the rest of 2015 at this stage but the wheels are in motion. We are looking to break into the international arena and hopefully get something with a major promotion in the States next. Due to the small competitive pool here in Australia, there’s not a lot of options left for me here so it makes sense to push towards the US.
The opportunities for female fighters in MMA seem to have really opened up, with Invicta leading the way and then the UFC adding two female divisions to their shows. It’s been exciting for us as fans and journalists to watch that growth. What has it been like for upcoming Australian WMMA fighters, especially having Bec Rawlings and Alex Chambers as part of this growth?
Women’s mixed martial arts has come a long way in the last few years in Australia. It’s still relatively small but due to the exposure brought by both the UFC and Invicta, it’s slowly starting to take off and female fighters are starting to get a lot more opportunities than in the past. Aussie MMA fans love us female fighters! We always put on a great show and are sometimes more exciting than our male counterparts. As an upcoming fighter, it certainly does help having individuals such as Bec and Alex to help lead the way for this growth. However, you need to look at them and see how they act and how they promote themselves and take what you like and don’t like to become a role model that people can look up to and in your own way in order to help the sport grow.
MMA is becoming very popular with girls in the US now because of Ronda Rousey and women in the UFC and Invicta. Have you seen this is Australia?
I think it’s slowly becoming popular with girls here in Australia but we still have a long way to go. It’s very much still thought of as a male-dominated sport and only men should watch it, but by us female athletes here creating a strong presence and becoming positive role models, we can help change that perception over time.
It can be hard to be taken seriously. Women are always objectified by men and it’s all about looks and image so as a WMMA fighter, it’s sometimes challenging in this respect. If I had a dollar for every time I get told, “you’re too pretty to be a fighter” I’d be rich. A lot of the time as a female fighter our hard work, abilities, and talents are overlooked due to not being taken seriously, which just comes with people not being educated properly on the sport.
Who are your biggest influences, either within the fight industry or outside of it, and what do you admire about them?
My biggest influences would have to be all my coaches and my parents. With my coaches, I highly value their opinion as they have been around the fight scene for a very long time and I know they’ve got my best interest at heart. I believe I’ve got some of the best coaches in the country, they push me day in and day out and I respect them so much that I’m constantly pushing myself to do better and to make them proud. I have a really good relationship with my parents and I ask them advice on almost everything. They help me so much and give me great advice even if I don’t listen to it! I know they’re always going to be there to support me and will do anything to help me achieve my dreams.
Who is your P4P dream opponent?
I don’t actually have a P4P dream fight. I just want to fight wherever and whomever they put in front of me and work my way up the rankings. As a Featherweight, I look more towards fighting the top athletes in my division so people like Julia Budd, Marloes Coenen, and Cris Cyborg. No matter who it is, I’ll always put on a show and give the fans a fight to remember!
What do you do when you aren’t training?
When I’m not training, I like to spend time with my family and friends. As training takes up a lot of my time, it’s hard to catch up so I try to do as much as I can to spend time with the people that matter the most. I also love to go to local fight shows and support the local Aussie talent that are coming through the ranks, and support my team when they are fighting as well. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to push myself and grow as a martial artist.
You have some nice ink.
I always get a lot of comments and looks from people about my tattoos! They’re pretty dark and not what you’d expect to see on a female, but I’m not your typical girly girl or someone who gets flowers tattooed on them. I’ve got both sleeves and my hands done as well as a few other tattoos. I’ve just started my chest piece which is yet to be finished and I’ve got plans to do a whole leg sleeve as well. Each tattoo means something to me, either it’s about my family or my personality. One of my favorite tattoos is my family motto which is ‘Stand Sure.’ It always reminds me of my heritage and who I am.
What do you want your WMMA legacy to be?
I want to be known as the best Featherweight there ever was. I want to be a role model to young girls and give them a figure they can look up to and respect. I’d like to be a pioneer for the next generation of female fighters and show everyone why I’m the best female Mixed Martial Artist that will ever come out of Australia and along the way inspire others to reach their goals.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
I’m tall, I’m tattooed, and I’m a lot crazy, so I’m definitely a fighter you want to be following! You can follow my journey on Facebook (Megan Anderson MMA), Instagram (megan_andersonmma), and Twitter (MeganA_mma) to keep up to date with all my training and upcoming fights. You can watch my highlight reel on there and start annoying Bellator or Invicta to sign me.
You can follow Melanie Gale on Twitter.