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Australian UFC star Megan Anderson’s battle with depression as she faces Amanda Nunes

The odds are stacked against Megan Anderson becoming the first Australian woman to win a UFC title when she steps into the cage to face featherweight champion Amanda Nunes.

Not that the 31-year-old from the Gold Coast seems to mind.

‘I’ve lived my life, and I’ve come out the other side of a lot of tough situations and tough environments,’ Anderson told Daily Mail Australia.

The odds are stacked against Megan Anderson (pictured) becoming the first Australian woman to win a UFC title when she steps into the cage to face featherweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 259 on Sunday (Australia time)

The bookmakers currently have Anderson as a wild 7-to-1 underdog to land a surprise victory over the champ Nunes, who is currently on the longest win streak by a female in UFC history (11). 

Nunes has been setting records in the octagon for over a decade – but in true Australian underdog fashion, Anderson has been defying the odds her entire life.

She has fought her way back from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression to become among the most feared fighters on the planet.

In fact, Anderson’s last two opponents didn’t even make it out of the first round.

The bookmakers currently have Anderson as a wild 7-to-1 underdog to land a surprise victory over the champ Nunes, who is currently on the longest win streak by a female in UFC history (11). She also holds the bantamweight title

The bookmakers currently have Anderson as a wild 7-to-1 underdog to land a surprise victory over the champ Nunes, who is currently on the longest win streak by a female in UFC history (11). She also holds the bantamweight title

Nunes has been setting records in the octagon for over a decade - but in true Australian underdog fashion, Anderson has been defying the odds her entire life

Nunes has been setting records in the octagon for over a decade – but in true Australian underdog fashion, Anderson has been defying the odds her entire life

She has fought her way back from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression to become among the most feared fighters on the planet

 She has fought her way back from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression to become among the most feared fighters on the planet

In October 2019, the Jiu-Jitsu specialist submitted Zarah Fairn Dos Santos in just under four minutes, and it was a show-stopping knockout of Brazil’s Norma Dumont last February that threw Anderson into contention for the featherweight title. 

The killer blow came at 3.31 of the first round and it landed flush on Dumont’s chin. 

‘It was nice,’ Anderson recalled. ‘It always is when you get that kind of finish. It was very cool. I have had a lot of finishes, and stoppages before so it was nice to get that in the UFC. I guess it showed what I am made of.’ 

While her MMA career has gone from strength-to-strength, the road to the top was paved with hardship.

In October 2019, the Jiu-Jitsu specialist submitted Zarah Fairn Dos Santos in just under four minutes

And it was a show-stopping knockout of Brazil's Norma Dumont last February that threw Anderson into contention for the featherweight title.

In October 2019, the Jiu-Jitsu specialist submitted Zarah Fairn Dos Santos in just under four minutes and it was a show-stopping knockout of Brazil’s Norma Dumont last February that threw Anderson into contention for the featherweight title

Anderson had been troubled by mental health issues since she was young. In 2008, after graduating from high school, she joined the Australian Army.

Looking back she says she was ‘mentally broken’ by the strict regimes of life in the Armed Services, which she believes led to an attempt on taking her own life in 2010. 

‘What I have learned is that life is all about being you and that’s something that I accepted over the years as well,’ said Anderson. ‘It’s something I’d like to share with people and it’s something that makes you stronger.’

Anderson had been troubled by mental health issues since she was young. In 2008, after graduating from high school, she joined the Australian Army. In 2010, while still serving for the Armed Services, she attempted to take her own life

Anderson had been troubled by mental health issues since she was young. In 2008, after graduating from high school, she joined the Australian Army. In 2010, while still serving for the Armed Services, she attempted to take her own life

She’ll have to be every bit of her resilient, battle hardened self to overcome Nunes – who is frequently dubbed the Greatest Of All Time in women’s MMA – on Sunday.

Anderson said she has fought personal demons far more daunting than the Brazilian and these days prefers to take life’s various struggles one day at a time.

‘I don’t really think about the things I have been through because they are just parts of my life that I have grown from,’ Anderson said.

‘I just focus on me and hope to represent myself and my country as best as possible and if I am able to inspire people in any way then that’s awesome.’

'What I have learned is that life is all about being you and that's something that I accepted over the years as well,' said Anderson. 'It's something I'd like to share with people and it's something that makes you stronger'

‘What I have learned is that life is all about being you and that’s something that I accepted over the years as well,’ said Anderson. ‘It’s something I’d like to share with people and it’s something that makes you stronger’

After such a troubled upbringing, it was martial arts that gave Anderson’s life purpose and later, success. 

She fought on the domestic Australian MMA circuit before moving to Kansas City in 2015 to further her career – a move that paid dividends when she was signed by the UFC in 2017. 

After such a troubled upbringing, it was martial arts that gave Anderson's life purpose and later, success. Through that UFC exposure, she has been able to share her story to millions of fans on a global stage

After such a troubled upbringing, it was martial arts that gave Anderson’s life purpose and later, success. Through that UFC exposure, she has been able to share her story to millions of fans on a global stage

Through that exposure, Anderson has been able to share her story to millions of fans on a global stage.

‘Martial arts helped me gain a lot of perspective,’ said Anderson. ‘It helped me with my patience and it helped me in a lot of ways outside of the cage.

‘Now, I try to use my platform for as much positivity as I can. I try to talk about the issues I have had and I hope that in some small way I have raised awareness and have helped people along the way.’

Anderson has spent the last week in Las Vegas, this week, preparing to face Nunes and soaking up all the hype that comes with being on a UFC 259 fight card in Sin City.

Anderson has spent the last week in Las Vegas, this week, preparing to face Nunes and soaking up all the hype that comes with being on a UFC 259 fight card in Sin City

Anderson has spent the last week in Las Vegas, this week, preparing to face Nunes and soaking up all the hype that comes with being on a UFC 259 fight card in Sin City

‘I’m feeling good,’ Anderson said. ‘Obviously extra time is always a good thing in this sport. It’s been a long [training] camp and I was able to do a lot of things but it’s nice to finally be here in fight week and to see everything come to fruition. It’s been a wild ride.’   

Now comes Nunes, an MMA phenom who also holds the UFC’s bantamweight title and whose fists have in the past helped closed the careers of the likes of UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey.

‘I look at every fight as the biggest fight of my career – because it is,’ said Anderson. ‘This is just another fight. Amanda is just another opponent. 

For confidential crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 

Now comes Nunes, an MMA phenom who also holds the UFC's bantamweight title and whose fists have in the past helped closed the careers of the likes of UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey

 Now comes Nunes, an MMA phenom who also holds the UFC’s bantamweight title and whose fists have in the past helped closed the careers of the likes of UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey

‘She has strengths, she has weaknesses, she has things that she does. We’re preparing for them just as we would with any other opponent.

‘There are a lot of things that can happen. Amanda is very good at what she does – and we’re prepared for that.’ 

Megan Anderson will face Amanda Nunes for the Featherweight Title at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Sunday (Australia Time). The fight is available on UFC Fight Pass.

For confidential crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 

Of Nunes, she said: 'She has strengths, she has weaknesses, she has things that she does. We're preparing for them just as we would with any other opponent'

Of Nunes, she said: ‘She has strengths, she has weaknesses, she has things that she does. We’re preparing for them just as we would with any other opponent’

'I look at every fight as the biggest fight of my career – because it is,' said Anderson. 'This is just another fight. Amanda is just another opponent'. She  will face Amanda Nunes for the Featherweight Title at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Sunday (Australia Time)

‘I look at every fight as the biggest fight of my career – because it is,’ said Anderson. ‘This is just another fight. Amanda is just another opponent’. She  will face Amanda Nunes for the Featherweight Title at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Sunday (Australia Time)

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