Corey Anderson won all three of his bouts in 2018, and shot up the rankings after his most recent bout against Ilir Latifi. The number 6 ranked light heavyweight seems like he is getting closer to the title picture, but he also recently spoke about having a deadline for his retirement.
“When I started a 23, I said that by 31 I wanted to be done,” Anderson told ESPN. “It was more of my mom pushing on me because she hates it, but now I’m at the point where I’m going to have a family and all of that. I see fighters, I know guys in it with their families. They’re away from home. And the damage to the brain. I know what it does to the body. I don’t want that.
“I’ve already got my exit plan and business plan, everything going. I’ve already got a job set up and waiting and everything,” he said. “I’ve got a business degree. I never wanted to be a fighter.”
While it’s smart that the 29-year-old already has plans after he retires from fighting, coming out and publicly saying that you might only have two years left arguably isn’t good for his current MMA career. This is the case that Sonnen presented, saying that Anderson’s recent statements are “baffling” and “frustrating” to him.
“If you see a recipe out there that is working for somebody, that does not mean that you can just copy it,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Daniel Cormier has made more headlines lately talking about his retirement than anything else that he has done in the cage because he is on top, because people do not want to see him retire.
“Corey Anderson coming out and talking about when he wants to retire is a sucker’s move on the highest of levels. First off, most people don’t know you’re fighting,” he said. “There are many guys who will be in this sport, and they will go away and nobody’s gonna know the difference.”
Anderson has a quality resume, but he doesn’t have much name value or star power just yet. Sonnen says he will only have more trouble getting that traction because people won’t get behind someone who’s retiring soon.
“The last thing a promoter is going to get behind, and put money behind, and a marketing machine behind, and a favorable fight or two behind — yes there are politics involved in this sport — is a guy who’s about to leave,” Sonnen said.
“The last thing that a fan is going to buy a t-shirt of, and follow on social media, and build anticipation for, is a guy who was about to leave. The last thing that a sponsor is gonna throw a goddamn dollar at, is a guy who is about to leave!
“If you fighters are seeing Daniel Cormier get a lot of run out of talking about retirement, it is because he is a star. He is marketable, he is a box-office proven draw, and it’s not time for him to go. That is not a sign to then go copy that recipe,” he explained. “If you want the hardest fights, for the lowest pay, with no sponsorship, come out and tell the world you’re about to retire.”