LAS VEGAS – Anthony Smith feels at a turning level in his profession.
The former UFC gentle heavyweight title challenger is assured he’ll quickly be taking steps upwards if he’s in a position to greatest Ryan Spann of their predominant occasion function at UFC Fight Night 192.
The two are set to conflict on Saturday night time on the UFC Apex. UFC Fight Night 192 streams on ESPN+ with the primary card lineup scheduled to start at 4 p.m. ET following prelims, that are slated to start out at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Smith (35-16 MMA, 10-6 UFC) is coming off back-to-back stoppage wins over Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute, who on the time had been ranked beneath him. And now, for a 3rd consecutive time, Smith takes on somebody decrease ranked in Spann (19-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC).
“Lionheart” is pleased with not combating somebody forward of him within the UFC gentle heavyweight ladder, however he needs that to alter if victorious over Spann.
“I think after the Glover and Rakic fights I wasn’t in a position to ask for anybody ahead of me,” Smith informed MMA Junkie and different reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “So I simply needed to sort of defend the place I used to be in. I did that by combating the blokes that had been behind me.
“I think after this fight, if I go in and have a dominant performance, I don’t think I have to defend my position anymore and I can go back to climbing. That’s why the Rakic fight makes sense to me. I have to climb ahead of me. Thiago (Santos) already has a fight coming up; Jiri (Prochazka) has the title shot to fight the winner (of Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira); Reyes is coming off three losses – I don’t think that makes sense for me. There’s really just Rakic there and that’s the guy that makes sense for me.”
Rakic is 6-1 in his previous seven UFC bouts. The lone loss was an in depth, cut up resolution to Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic’s spectacular run additionally features a win over Smith again in August 2020.
Rakic is definitely in title competition, however Smith believes his chances are high low of getting a title shot with out stepping within the octagon as soon as once more.
“I know he wants to wait for the title fight, but I don’t think that makes any sense,” Smith mentioned. “It’s a kind of issues that doesn’t make a lot sense. He hasn’t had any barn-burning performances. He’s executed sufficient to win, which is basically what you need to do. But he’s not wowing anyone and the UFC will not be begging him to combat for the title.
“If Jiri Prochazka is next after the Jan-Glover fight – love Jan, love Glover – but they’re not the youngest guys in the world, they’re not going to be fighting every three months. … He’s in a position where he’s going to fight again or get skipped. If I have to be the guy to push that, I would be happy to do that.”
Watch the complete media day interview with Smith within the video above.