Anthony Smith says the light heavyweight division just got more ‘interesting’ following Jon Jones, Corey Anderson departure.
When Jon Jones and Corey Anderson departed the light heavyweight rankings for two very different reasons it shook up a division that had been at a bit of a stalemate. Now, with a vacant title fight on the horizon and four of the division’s top fighters slated to showdown, it’s opened up a myriad of storylines. This excitement isn’t lost on former title challenger, Anthony Smith.
“Yeah, that kind of sucks that Jon and Corey left,” Smith told FanSided. “They are two guys that I definitely wanted to fight. So there is a little bit of disappointment there on both sides but this fight was super important to me anyway because I am coming off of a loss. I am a terrible loser, I hate it. I feel like my life is not complete when I am coming off of a loss. It’s constantly in the back of my head, so I definitely want to get that monkey off of my back. Things definitely did get interesting didn’t they?”
The UFC already has two men scheduled for the vacant title — Jan Blachowicz and Dominic Reyes. But what comes after that is really up to how Smith’s fight with Aleksandar Rakić goes and how Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira’s fight goes. That makes six fighters in line for a potential title, all with strong cases.
“I think it is a six-way round robin for a race to the title,” Smith said. “I think Blachowicz and Reyes are absolutely the right guys to fight for it. Then I think it comes to Thiago Santos, Glover, myself, and Rakić to see who has the most impressive win. I think that if Glover wins they will have me sitting and waiting for a minute. I think I have an argument if Thiago wins. He’s not that exciting and I could have an impressive performance over Rakić. I think that puts me right in the conversation.”
Anthony Smith doesn’t think Vadim Nemkov could take the UFC’s top light heavyweights
Aside from the light heavyweight vacant title, there’s been a conversation about who has the better division right now, UFC or Bellator. Scott Coker, Bellator’s president, thinks his promotion does, Smith doesn’t exactly agree.
“I don’t want to shit on Bellator, that’s not my thing but I think [Vadim] Nemkov is good, I like watching that guy fight too,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, I’m a fan so he is super tough. He beat a really tough guy and really competitive Ryan Bader, who is a champion in two different weight classes so that really means something. I don’t think Nemkov comes over to the UFC and beats anybody in the top five or even in the top six, I just don’t think that’s a thing. I think that we are the better division, I do. Would he be competitive? For sure. I think if you take the top one or two guys in every weight class from both sides I would have super competitive fights. Now if you start getting deeper in the division the UFC runs away with it.”
Smith also told FanSided that he misses the fans and media who he normally interacts with during fight weeks but says he understands the quiet week probably works for other fighters. When asked what he’s been watching while in quarantine in the fighter hotel, he revealed a surprising past time
“We have been sitting around watching terrible TV,” he laughed. “My corner is so pissed right now because I am the loser who watches political television, I don’t know why. I’ve just been bouncing back-and-forth from CNN and FOX and I don’t know why. It’s not like it’s something I’m super into but every time I watch TV that’s usually what’s on. I think it’s because it’s a train wreck depending on what channel you’re on it’s like the total opposite it’s like watching a reality TV show.”