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Jon Anik defends Joe Rogan’s spot as UFC commentator: ‘I think he’s going to outlast me’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jon Anik says the UFC would be a different place – for the worse – if Joe Rogan wasn’t around.

Over the past several months, Rogan has been the recipient of much fan criticism for his approach to commentary on UFC pay-per-view broadcasts. The comedian and podcast host first appeared on UFC television more than 20 years ago and has been a constant presence in the commentary booth for more than a decade.

Anik, who will serve as the play-by-play lead with color commentators Rogan and Daniel Cormier for Saturday’s UFC 261 pay-per-view, doesn’t think his partner is going anywhere, though. He said he thinks Rogan is in it for the long haul.

“It feels much bigger when he’s there, there’s no doubt about it,” Anik told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Friday following UFC 261 official weigh-ins. “He brings a special dynamic to our broadcast booth that I’m not really sure anybody else can bring. There are a lot of these guys that are comedic, but he is the total package. There’s no doubt about it. I think he’s going to outlast me, though.

“There are rumblings, ‘Oh, Rogan’s got one foot out the door.’ He’s doing our domestic pay-per-views right now. He hasn’t travelled internationally as long as I’ve been doing the pay-per-views, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere. That’s not informed speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he outlasts me, to be honest with you.”

Anik is thrilled to once again work alongside Rogan at UFC 261 and said it will be a special night on commentary. After months of a social distancing setup cageside, the commentary team will once again sit shoulder-to-shoulder at the same table for this weekend’s card at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+, and he said it will feel like old times.

“I think that’s the most exciting thing for me is to be able to have my broadcast partners right there,” Anik said. “If I need to get a promo in, I can actually tough Joe Rogan’s arm instead of having to rely on the truck to cut their mics or get them to lay out.”