So far the majority of the female athletes in the UFC have come up through Invicta FC which of course is webcast at UFC Fight Pass. Kicking off 2017 for Invicta will be a show on January 21st with Megan Anderson vs. Charmaine Tweet headlining. This is especially well-timed because the UFC recently announced starting up a women’s featherweight division starting with Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 on February 11th making it seem the winner of Anderson vs. Tweet would find a quick path to not only the UFC but due to the developing depth possibly a fast track to a UFC title shot. The problem of course being Cristaine “Cyborg” Justino who is on paper still the Invicta champion despite fighting in the UFC her past two fights. Now Megan Anderson shares her thoughts on the fight against Tweet, the division itself, and the situation with Cyborg.
KM: How do you feel about the upcoming Charmaine Tweet fight headlining Invicta FC 21?
MA: I’m really excited about this fight. It’s a big opportunity for me. All my hard work has paid off to be the main event. It’s a pretty big deal. Its exciting for me coming from Australia. When I came over here I lost my first fight but I came back and won three consecutively in pretty dominating fashion. This shows my hard work is paying off.
KM: What do you think of Charmaine Tweet?
MA: She is a tough fighter and she has been around a long time. In that regard she has been around a long time but hasn’t really improved much. I feel in her last two fights she hasn’t been at the level she used to be. It’ll be an opportunity for me to showcase my skills.
KM: She is 39 now, thought of as past her peak.
KM: To what degree do you think she is a worthy opponent?
MA: I faced a lot of criticism in my last three fights based on the fact people don’t feel they were worthy opponents. I think people think Charmaine is a worthy opponent even though I think she is on the same level as the other girls I’ve previously fought. Due to the fact she has been around a long time and is somewhat a veteran in the sport a win over her would legitimize my position in the division. For me I want to shut those people up who keep trying to say I haven’t been fighting good opponents when I have.
KM: Invicta do a good job with what is available. Marloes Coenen is a little past her prime, Cyborg is in limbo…aside from a rematch against your only loss Cindy Dandois there aren’t a lot of options. To the mainstream fans anyway. What are your thoughts on the division?
MA: I think the options are there. There may not be as many as say the bantamweight division but the bantamweight division was like that at one point. I think they just need to give the featherweight division the opportunities that other divisions are getting. You build it and they will come. Like with Ronda Rousey. She was such a dominant champion for such a long time that the competition grew to that level. I think that they just need to do the same thing for the featherweights.
KM: When the women’s divisions first started it was only about the bantamweights, now there are bantamweights and strawweights in the UFC, they are just now adding adding featherweights. That took ten years though.
MA: You look at the strawweights and before the UFC introduced the strawweights and Joanna Jedrzejcyk won the belt nobody heard of her. They only introduced that division what, two years ago? Look at how much that division has grown in two years. You just need to give women the same opportunity as men to perform on that platform and the competition will come and the competition will rise to that level. You just have to give us the opportunity.
KM: The bantamweights were all over the place but the strawweights came from Invicta. What are your thoughts on fighting in Invicta?
MA: I love fighting for Invicta. They do a really great job promoting us. She gives us an opportunity, a platform to showcase our skills. Without Invicta really there is nobody else. Bellator have some featherweight fighters but they aren’t really active in keeping that division going. Really there is nowhere else we can showcase our skills. Shannon does a really great job with that platform for us.
KM: At this time the featherweight division in the UFC is just starting, up until this point Invicta was the top for your division. How do you feel about that ceiling?
MA: I would agree with that. It is hard. I feel with having Bellator and Invicta there are such top-level women in that division but split between the two. So if you are in Invicta it is really hard to fight those women in Bellator and vive versa. The competition is there, it is just harder because it is really not the top level. Like we aren’t getting paid the same as the UFC fighters. We may be at that UFC level but you are only getting “three and three” to fight where there are girls in the UFC who are in the strawweight division whose record may be 1-1 but are getting “twenty-five and twenty-five”. That is an impact that I don’t see fair. Myself and Charmaine who have been doing this a lot longer than some of the girls in the UFC and have been given those opportunities, we are paid like three times less just because we are not on that level, they don’t have our weight division. That isn’t our fault, that is the UFC’s fault. We shouldn’t be discriminated against that and be paid less than them.
KM: If fighters learn more from their losses than from their wins how do you look back at that loss to Cindy Dandois and what did you learn, how did it change you? Would you want a rematch?
MA: Oh, yeah. Definitely. I’m definitely not the fighter today that I was back then. A lot has happened in a year. I changed training camps and done a lot of things differently, grown as a fighter. I’d like that rematch. I feel that fight a lot to do with that loss was my inexperience. I’d never fought on that level before and Cindy is a veteran. She had been fighting since high school. She may have had some time off but during that time off she was still training. I’m not going to take anything away from her but I definitely want a rematch. I’m not looking past Charmaine but down the track that would be a fight I’d want again.
KM: After that fight is when you moved to Glory…
MA: Yes. That following Monday after the fight I was here training, maybe a week or two after I made the decision to stay (in the US). I’ve been here ever since.
KM: What are your thoughts on “Cyborg”?
MA: If she is still around I’m sure that fight will happen. They need to come out and say has she left Invicta or has she not. Her contract is with Zuffa and she has been fighting in the UFC. Lets be honest nobody thinks she is coming back to Invicta, the UFC won’t let her just based on the numbers she pulls in. The fight game is about selling and she brings in the numbers they want. They need to come out and say “yes, she is coming back” or “no she is not” because if not then she can’t keep the (Invicta) belt. She relinquishes or they put it up and then she goes to something in the UFC. Every day it is something different with her. She wants to fight at 140 then the next day she wants to fight at 145. “I only want the big fights”, “I want to defend my title”. Every day it is different. It kind of gets a bit annoying. They need to come out and make a decision and say what it is and move on. It is really annoying. She keeps saying “the (Invicta) featherweight division is on hold because of me”, well make a decision then. You either stay with the UFC and get the money you want and the fights you want or you go away from the UFC and don’t get all that you want. She needs to make up her mind. Its not the UFC who is holding up the weight division, it is her. We are over here fighting and she is complaining all the time. I respect her and think she has done amazing things for the sport but I think it is getting a little ridiculous.
KM: Then what does the Invicta belt mean to you? Isn’t it a vacant belt they haven’t announced formally as vacant?
MA: When Charmaine and I fight it will be I think a year the belt hasn’t been defended. For me it gives the featherweight division and Invicta a realistic champion that people can work towards who is fighting in the organization.