Many were surprised when it was announced that Jon Jones would be defending his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith at the upcoming UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) event on March 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To some, “Lionheart” was getting the nod too quickly after winning — albeit impressively — just three fights at 205 pounds. That shock, for whatever reason, turned into hate according to Smith, who recently revealed on The MMA Hour that though it doesn’t bother him it caught him off guard.
“[My coach Marc Montoya] tells me all the time that I need to worry about impressing myself and no one else, and that’s the piece that I’m going to struggle with a little bit,” Smith via MMA Fighting.
As a result of the outpouring of hatred, “Lionheart” says it is going to be a real struggle for him to be humble once he gets his time in the spotlight and is giving Joe Rogan his victory speech.
“I would venture to guess it’s going to be really hard for me to stay humble talking to Joe Rogan afterwards, because the outpouring of hatred has been incredible,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily bother me too much, but it is a little bit shocking. Like, how so many people can care so much one way or the other just blows my mind. But there is a little bit of the ‘sticking it to the haters’ feeling there, for sure.”
Pulling off the upset will be a tall task to say the least, as Jones has yet to taste a true defeat during his illustrious combat career, taking out a murder’s row of contenders, legends and champions along the way.
Smith, meanwhile, earned his first-ever shot at the title after taking our Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and Volkan Oezdemir in the span of of just five months. If that doesn’t warrant a title shot, I don’t know what does. With a win over perhaps the greatest MMA fighter to ever live, Smith will be able to write his own ticket moving forward, all while sticking it to his haters.
Will you be among them?