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The Jackson/Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is fast becoming a home away from home for Dunedin’s Brogan Anderson.
In the past two-and-a-half years, the 29-year-old Hammerhead fighter has gone through four training stints at the academy.
Anderson will leave for his fifth stint tomorrow, consisting of about 15 training sessions over six days a week, for 10 weeks.
Anderson said he was excited and really keen to sharpen up his competitive side.
"When I am home I work on a lot of technical stuff, but I just don’t get that push from sparring partners to really force me to get better and work hard," he said.
"Over there I have sparring partners pushing me everyday, and it is a real challenge every time on the mats."
When he first attended the academy in 2016 he was nervous, but not any more.
He hoped to split his time yearly with six months in Dunedin and six months living and training at Jackson/Wink. Anderson is looking to turn a lean 2018 — where he is yet to compete — into one full of potential.
He plans on completing a fight camp while at Jackson/Wink, and aimed to compete in Dunedin on December 8.Anderson is also hoping for a change of luck when he returns.
In April, Anderson returned primed to take on Australian Jayden Eynaud in the Xtreme Fighting Championship (XFC) in Australia, only for Eynaud to pull out.
The same thing happened in February last year when Anderson returned, only to have XFC welterweight champion and New Zealander Matt Vaile pull out of their scheduled bout.
Anderson eventually lost to Vaile in a TKO (elbows) in May that year, after beating Wellington’s Ryan Heketa via decision just three weeks before in Dunedin.
Anderson said while opponent withdrawals frustrate him, it is what it is and it comes with the fight territory.
Anderson turned professional in 2013, and has a record of 10 wins and three losses.
Anderson said while he and his team had tried everything to secure a fight this year, including making some good money offers, fighter availability was limited and it was just one of those years where everything fell through.
All up the Jackson/Wink trips cost Anderson about $12,000-$15,000 each time.
He raises the money through fundraising and is helped by some dedicated sponsors, and this trip was largely funded by merchandising personalised hoodies and tee-shirts.
Anderson said his long term goal is to compete in the UFC, and he is inspired by the current crop of New Zealanders making their mark on the promotion.
"It is my only goal. I want to start making what I am worth and while I have no set timeframe for this physically, I am just coming into my own and I can see myself competing for another 9-10 years if I want to."
The Jackson/Wink MMA Academy is a collaboration between two of the best coaches in the business, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
It has been the training ground for many former UFC champions, such as light heavyweight Jon Jones and Bantamweight Holly Holm, as well as many of today’s current UFC stars.