LAS VEGAS – Anthony Smith thinks the one logical combat for him within the mild heavyweight division after UFC Fight Night 192 is a rematch with Aleksandar Rakic.
Smith (35-16 MMA, 11-6 UFC) earned his third consecutive victory in opposition to a lesser-ranked opponent on Saturday when he submitted Ryan Spann (19-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) within the first spherical of their important occasion matchup on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Coming into the combat, Smith made it very clear he needed a rematch of his unanimous choice loss to Rakic (14-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 175 in August 2020. He doubled down throughout his in-cage interview, and it appeared the sequel was made on the spot advert Rakic immediately responded and mentioned he’s out there in December.
Smith mentioned he would love nothing greater than for that to come back to actuality, nevertheless it’s not as a result of he has a deeper subject with Rakic past merely shedding their combat.
“That’s what I wanted,” Smith advised MMA Junkie and different reporters on the UFC Fight Night 192 post-event press convention. “That’s what I asked for. That’s the fight I’ve been talking about. It’s nothing personal. Me and Rakic have had nothing but positive exchanges with each other both before and after the fight. It’s purely competitive. I want his spot. He took mine, I want to take it back.”
In addition to shedding his rating to Rakic, “Lionheart” mentioned he’s nonetheless bothered by what that loss represents. He mentioned he was in a “dark place” following a brutal TKO defeat to Glover Teixeira in May 2020, and he wasn’t the place he wanted to be mentally for his coaching camp and within the combat with Rakic itself.
He’s seemingly turned a constructive nook since then, incomes first-round stoppage wins over Spann, Jimmy Crute and Devin Clark. Not solely does Smith wish to present he’s a greater model of himself now, however he mentioned it’s the combat that does probably the most of him when it comes to climbing the 205-pound rankings to a second UFC title shot.
“No disrespect – I think Dominick Reyes is an easier fight (than Rakic), but that doesn’t get me closer to the title,” Smith mentioned. “I need what’s going to get me closest to the title fight. I could hang around and wait for the loser of the title fight, but I don’t want to wait. I think for me stylistically – not saying for everyone – but for me, Rakic is probably the toughest fight out of those (top) five guys.”
Although Smith’s efficiency in opposition to Spann earned him “Performance of the Night” honors, he wasn’t the happiest along with his physique of labor. He felt the combat was “chaotic and wild,” and regardless of his monitor price of ending fights, would’ve preferred one thing cleaner.
Still, although, he obtained his hand raised in a matchup in opposition to an opponent in Spann who has some hype as a future participant at mild heavyweight. Smith mentioned he didn’t suppose he was getting sufficient credit score coming into the matchup, however at this level is over placing inventory into the critics and solely desires to fulfill himself.
“What do I got to do? Who do I have to beat?” Smith mentioned. “I beat the old guys and people said they were too old. Now I beat the young guys and everyone says they’re not ranked high enough. What the f*ck do you want me to do? I don’t give a f*ck anymore. I’m doing what I have to do and fighting the guys in front of me.”