Chad Anheliger (10-5) knew he was on the UFC radar as he got a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) last year that didn’t come to fruition.
Due to visa issues, the fight was canceled and, following that, Anheliger was booked to defend his Rise FC bantamweight title. Yet, he contracted COVID-19 and the fight was off. Following that, he says the plan was to fight again, but shortly after that he was informed he would compete on Week 2 of DWCS on Sept. 7.
“I had an opportunity last year on the Contender Series, like everything was done, opponent, date, but I couldn’t get my visa and my opponent ended up getting a short-notice UFC fight,” Anheliger said to MMA Empire.
“I knew I was on their radar, so I’m glad I’m getting my shot now.”
The 34-year-old from Consort, Alta. will fight Muin Gafurov (17-3), who was actually signed to the UFC in 2019, but ONE Championship blocked it and he then fought out his contract.
Gafurov has fought some tough opponents like John Lineker, but for Anheliger, he believes he will be too much for the Tajikistan fighter and will eventually find the knockout.
“He has some high-profile fights and he’s as tough as it comes on the show. I wanted the toughest guy and that is what they gave me. I’m here to prove I belong. It is a great matchup for the fans and for me,” Anheliger explained.
“I plan to show the levels of striking between us and I will knock him out.”
Although Anheliger expects to get the stoppage win, he says the pressure of being on DWCS won’t impact him.
Instead, he says the way he fights is the perfect style for DWCS and is confident he’ll do enough to get a UFC deal.
“I am kind of lucky as my fighting style, naturally, is what the UFC wants. They want hungry guys who are looking for the finish and to put on damage. That is my natural style,” Anheliger said.
“There isn’t much pressure as I will fight how I always fight and secure that contract. I’m ready for the big show, and everything that comes with being a UFC fighter.”
If Anheliger does get the knockout win and a UFC deal, the Canadian made it clear he wants to make his debut later this year.
He also says he isn’t opposed to fighting tough opponents right away as he is 34 and knows it’s now or never to make a run in the UFC.
“Absolutely, I will make my UFC debut later this year. I’m ready to fight the top guys right now, so once I smash Muin I want another fight right away,” Anheliger concluded.