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Old 06-03-2019, 01:28 AM #1
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Default Anthony Smith: ĎPeople having a hard time getting used to me being at the topí

It doesnít look like Anthony Smith is giving up his spot in the rankings anytime soon.

The 46-fight veteran experienced a breakthrough last year after making the move from middleweight to light heavyweight, riding a three-fight win streak all the way to an unexpected championship shot at all-time 205-pound great Jon Jones this past March at UFC 235. Smith went five rounds with ďBones,Ē failing to muster up much offense against the champ, but he answered any questions about his legitimacy as a contender on Saturday when he finished three-time world title challenger Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Stockholm on Saturday.

At the eveningís post-fight press conference, Smith was asked if he expected Gustafsson to follow through on a retirement speech he made after the loss. Smith praised Gustafsson and explained that the outcome of their fight had far more to do with his own overlooked talents, than any sort of drop-off on Gustafssonís part.

ďHeís got a lot to give. Heís got a lot left,Ē Smith said. ďIíve seen it firsthand, heís got a lot left and I just hope that he doesnít look at a loss to me as something super negative, because like I said about everyone else, I think that people are having a hard time getting used to me being at the top and I donít think me beating him is a reflection of him falling off the wagon or him losing his edge or not being good anymore. Thatís not it. Iím just not gonna be turned away. I hope that he can look at it like that.

ďIt sounds silly, but itís not you, itís me. Thatís really how I feel about it.Ē

Though Gustafsson was the more high-profile fighter competing in his home country, it was Smith who looked like the man closer to fighting Jones again as he was more active in the early going and the one with the killer instinct in the end. It was in the fourth that Smith took control, ending up on Gustafssonís back before earning the submission with a rear-naked choke.

Smith believes that his grappling skills give him a leg up on anyone that steps into the cage with him.


ďAs soon as I got the body triangle and then as soon as I got both hooks in, I knew that it was over, especially with that much time left on the clock,Ē Smith said. ďI donít know exactly how much time was left, but I knew that it was enough time.

ďIf I take your back, for the most part, youíre probably just done, thatís just how it is. Iím a legitimate black belt in the gi under Scott Morton, Iíve been with the same jiu-jitsu coach for 12 or 13 years. I can grapple and I think people are starting to figure that out now. In the last four fights, thatís two backs Iíve taken and thatís two finishes. Youíre probably just not gonna get away, thatís just how it goes.Ē

Smith also credited coach Marc Montoya and his team at Factory X with preparing him for any scenario, a crucial factor given that Smith admitted he broke a hand early in the fight. But as pleased as he was with the win, he didnít agree with the sentiment that this washed away the pain from the loss to Jones.

There first fight was uneventful, but Smith still thinks he can prove that heís worthy of a rematch. He recently mentioned on The MMA Hour that the plan is to take a break from thinking about fighting and give the light heavyweight division a chance to fall into place, possibly in such a way that it favors Smith, and he stuck to that idea on Saturday.

ďIíll tell you the same thing I told Jon, Iíll see him again and thatís what Iím working towards,Ē Smith said. ďIím working towards the fight with Jon Jones, I want to get back to that title shot and thatís my plan. Thatís the goal. So whatever that looks like when I come back, figure out what this hand injuryís all about, and weíll just go from there. Thatís what I want.

ďI wouldnít still be here if I wasnít still chasing Jon Jones.Ē

It was evident that Smith had mentally recovered enough from the Jones fight to have the advantage against Gustafsson, who also recently fell short of defeating Jones in a title bout. Picking up the pieces was not difficult for Smith, who takes full responsibility for his shortcomings and remains singularly focused on becoming UFC champion.

ďNothing in my entire life has ever come easy for me,Ē Smith said. ďIf you go back and you look my career, thereís been lots of ups and thereís been lots of downs. We can all sit around and think about things when theyíre not going our way. We can blame people and we can point fingers and you can try to make excuses, but the sooner you decide that youíre done making excuses and you just want to figure it out, then youíve just got to shut up, put your head down, and do it. I just put my head down and I just grind.

ďIíve said it before and Iíll say it now: Iím gonna be a world champion or Iím gonna die trying. Iím not gonna stop. So all these people that keep talking about me being a fluke or a flash-in-the-pan, you guys are doing yourselves a disservice because Iím coming. Iím not going anywhere. Until thereís a gold belt around my waist, then you can start thinking about what Anthony Smith is gonna do next. But until then itís coming forward and swinging hammers and Iím gonna do what I gotta do to get the W. Itís not always pretty, Iím not the prettiest fighter in the world, but I donít have to be, because obviously I can beat the best guys in the world doing it my way.Ē
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:39 AM #2
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Default

I was soooooo close to pulling the trigger on betting Smith the other day, but I got clobbered in a couple earlier fights & felt like my flow was off for the day & opted out on the rest of the UFC card. Plus the boxing was looking good for later on so decided to get some goodies & enjoy boxing for the night.
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