Former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Eryk Anders lost to one-time Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida in a UFC Fight Night: 125 main event on Saturday.
Yes, you read that all correctly, Bama fans.
Anders wasn’t being used as some weird draw for the UFC. He actually entered the contest with an MMA record of 10-0, with high expectations being placed on him from people who follow the sport with great fury.
Machida, it is worth noting, is no slouch. Not only is he a veteran of the sport, but he once held the UFC light heavyweight championship after defeating Rashad Evans in May 2009 for it. He would only successfully defend the title once against Maurício Rua, then lost it to Rua slightly less than a year after winning it.
This was clearly the toughest fight of Anders’ young MMA career. While he lost, it was in a split-decision.
Of note, Machida entered the contest on a three-fight losing streak.
What will be interesting to monitor moving forward is how Anders approaches his next few fights. Having attempted to step up in class of opponent on Saturday, but not yet appearing ready for that kind of fight, maybe he takes a bit more cautious approach moving forward.
Anders played at Alabama between 2006 and 2009, notably being a starter during his senior season during Alabama’s first BCS National Championship run. Anders proved to be a significant player in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game against Texas, where he recorded seven total tackles and a forced fumble.