Eryk Anders knew he needed to make a change.
The 32-year-old has lost four of his last five fights after going undefeated through his first 10 professional bouts. His last matchup in particular, a one-sided decision defeat to Khalil Rountree at UFC 236, exposed mental challenges he's endured in the Octagon.
"I just wasn't there," Anders told theScore. "It's almost like going into a fight blind for me anyway because I like the mental preparation. The challenge has never been physical for me. (It's about) showing up on fight night and fighting a full three rounds, full 15 minutes, instead of starting slow and picking it up in the last two rounds."
In an effort to overcome his mental hurdles, Anders enlisted the services of a Las Vegas-based hypnotist, whom he heard about from Rountree.
"After the (UFC 236 fight), Khalil went on the 'Joe Rogan Podcast' and I started listening to it. He kept mentioning 'Dom the hypnotist' so I wanted to see what it's all about. (UFC middleweight) Julian Marquez was the guy who introduced (Khalil) - he gave me Dom's number, we linked up, I booked a flight and went out there. I stayed on Julian's couch, trained, went and saw him."
Anders added that the sessions were very beneficial.
"Man, for me, before for whatever reason I'm not very big on the visualization part of the fighting," he said. "I went and saw (the hypnotist). Man, it's not like he waves a watch in front of you and says 'You're very sleepy.' It wasn't like that at all. We just picked a few topics each session and kind of went through it. I feel really good and I'm really anxious to get back in there."
Anders (11-4) is scheduled for a light heavyweight bout against Vinicius Moreira (9-2) at UFC Fight Night on June 29. After losing three straight fights, the former NCAA football champion desperately needs a victory to keep employment with the UFC, and Anders believes we'll see a much more aggressive version of him.
"I'm still young in this sport, it's hard to say the 'old me' (will be back). The 'me' that got into the UFC will be on display next weekend," he said.
"My energy levels are really high. My mental clarity and focus is the best it’s ever been. I think it opens doors when you’re watching film, when you're kind of going through the mental reps in your head. So you're going to get those mental reps, along with the physical reps. I just think it's going to pay dividends."
UFC Fight Night will take place June 29 at Target Center in Minneapolis, with Junior dos Santos facing Francis Ngannou in the main event. Watch the full interview with Anders below and subscribe to theScoreMMA YouTube channel here.