Eryk relishes the pressure of having all eyes on him. That’s just one of the reasons why he enjoys competing in MMA over football.

A story I would like to share with you is one of my father.

After the final game my sophomore season of football at the university of Alabama, I did not play one snap and was extremely frustrated. I told my father that I did not wanna be at Alabama anymore and wanted to transfer to another school where I would play and better my odds of living out my dream of playing in the NFL.

After a long night of gambling and casinos, we came back to our hotel room and began talking over a beer and cards. He told me to stay at Alabama and everything would work out. “If at the very least you will get your college degree” at the time I took his advise with a grain of salt and chalked it up to nothing more than a suggestion.

After falling asleep I awoke to my mother screaming my fathers name in a panic. My father has passed away in his sleep.

This was very for my family and myself. I made a promise to him and myself that I would stay and become a starter at the university.

Fast forward two years later, we were playing in the national championship and with the game on the line in the last 3 min of the game I had a sack and forced fumble to seal the game and a win. His word will forever live with me and I often hear his voice when things get hard.

His words were truly an inspiration.

Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who made a successful UFC debut on Saturday with a first round knock out of Rafael Natal, is a former line-backer at the University of Alabama who helped lead the Crimson Tide to a 2009 national title.

He’s no stranger to a competitive environment but said finding success in MMA brings more personal satisfaction than anything else.

“I think single-person sports is the purest form of sports there is,” Anders said following his promotional-debut win. “It is a team sport; it has a team aspect. I can’t get better if I don’t have guys to train with and vice versa. But when the cage door closes, it’s just me and the voice of my coaches, and I prefer it that way.”