The biggest MMA event of the year (so far) took place earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois. It was the most recent UFC pay-per-view, UFC 225.
The stacked card played host to several top-ranked fighters and many fantastic matchups. One of the fighters who made the walk on June 9th was the Australian former Invicta 145 pound champion, Megan Anderson.
In her debut, Anderson took on the former UFC bantamweight champion, Holly Holm who was continuing her search for a win at featherweight.
Unfortunately for Anderson, Holm would find it on that night as she wrestled her way to a unanimous decision.
Speaking with BJPenn.com recently and reflecting on the fight was Anderson’s coach at Glory MMA & Fitness, UFC lightweight, James Krause.
“I wasn’t surprised at all [by Holm’s game plan]. I knew Megan would have the better of the stand-up. I said before the fight started, I feel like whoever was going to win the clinch battle was going to win the fight. We worked in the clinch a lot for it.”
Known for her phenomenal striking abilities as a world champion boxer for her athletic career prior to starting MMA, Holm employed a smart game plan with a grappling-heavy attack. Something we had never seen from her before in the past.
“Holly’s a veteran.” Krause continued, “Holly’s a vet. She’s a vet, just plain and simple. She finds ways to win. I think she’s extremely undervalued in the durability department. She’s very, very durable, tough, good cardio, good angles. She’s very good everywhere.
Megan, I feel like striking at distance, is one of the most dangerous strikers out right now in MMA. She’s got power. She’s got good stance, switching. Her knees are phenomenal. I did not think for one second Holly would stand across from her and strike with her for three rounds. I knew it would end in the clinch.
I really think that Holly’s just got a ton of experience. That goes a long way, a fighter IQ, ring generalship. She’s experienced on how to win if that makes sense. Megan’s young, she’s still raw. She’s still green. She’s got a lot to learn. She went up against a veteran that night. We got out game-planned, really. That’s the nature of the beast.”
For Anderson, it was her first loss since September 2015 and only the third of her young eleven fight career that only began in 2013.
Often times the biggest lessons are learned in defeat and Krause isn’t deterred or any less confident in his protege.
“Megan is a very cerebral fighter. She will overcome this. Like I said, she’s got a ton to learn still. She’s still so young in the game. She’s been with me for three years, I think, not even. She really hasn’t been training that long, at all. To me, it’s not that big of a deal.
Obviously, we always want to win. I’m not trying to downplay the fact that we lost. We’re comparing somebody that’s been fighting their entire adulthood to somebody that’s been training for three or four years. She’s super young in the game. She’s going to be back. She will be a world champion, no doubt.”
Now having made it to the big show and gotten the debut out of the way, the next question is what’s next for the Aussie?
With a virtually non-existent division at 145, there aren’t many options.
However, the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (28) is set to feature featherweights which will be the first true building sign that the UFC will be doing for the weight class. Something Krause believes that Anderson will have to wait for to all play out before she gets to make her sophomore appearance in the UFC.
“I don’t think she’s going to have a quick turnaround, regardless of what we want. The division is kind of at a standstill, especially with The Ultimate Fighter  going on, the last season. My guess is they’re going to make her wait until that’s over, which is fine with me. As a coach, I feel like we have lot we can work in the meantime and only get better. It’s really no difference to me.
She’s a competitor. If she can’t compete within that time, I’m 100% in on it. I, personally if it was my choice, I would be somewhere in between, maybe six months. I don’t know. I would like some time to work on some of the holes that we gathered. We’ll fix them, regardless of how much time we have. I’m not really sure what they’re wanting to do quite yet.”
No matter who is next for the former Invicta champion will surely be interesting as with someone of Anderson’s potential will always have their intrigue. Especially in a rebound scenario after gaining experience against a legend in female combat sports.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/25/2018