Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith gave everything in his gas tank in his fight with Volkan Oezdemir, tapping ‘No Time’ in the third round with a rear-naked choke. Afterwards, he called for a title fight. The man he is most likely to face, Jon Jones, thought the night of fights was ‘pretty impressive’, but when asked to grade Anthony Smith’s performance specifically, he just said- “It was OK”.
Pretty impressive night of fights
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) October 28, 2018
Smith was asked about this tweet from Jones, and his answer was great.
“If he ain’t worried about it what’s he watching for, you know what I mean? Jon Jones should worry about Alexander Gustafsson first.
I think that performance is exactly the one that Jon Jones would hate to see. You’re not just gonna get me out with a little bit of flash and some hard punches- it ain’t gonna happen. If I was Jon Jones, I would probably be more worried about Alexander Gustafsson than than Anthony Smith right now.
When asked if he thought Jones will beat Gustafsson at UFC 232, Smith’s response was also insightful- and ambitious:
Not if he’s focused on what me and Volkan Oezdemir are doing, that’s for damn sure! The best Jon Jones has to show up to win that fight. I’d imagine with all that time off that Jon is gonna train his ass off. He claims that he didn’t train at all for the first one; the ‘real’ Jon Jones shows up, I’d imagine he gets it done. I hope he does! Cause that’s who I want. That’s no disrespect to Gustafsson either; I want to be the man to take out Jon Jones. He’s got to get through Gus first.
Smith fully earned his nickname ‘Lionheart’ with a gutsy performance against Volkan Oezdemir, giving it his all to get the choke. After the tap, he just laid on the Octagon floor celebrating, not trying to get up. Volkan’s leg kicks had taken a toll, and he needed his cornermen to help him get to the back.
Does that kind of heart give him a chance against the greatest light heavyweight of all time? Is Anthony Smith next in line for a title shot? That question might depend on the results in next weekend’s UFC 230 main event, where current double champion Daniel Cormier defends his other belt- the heavyweight one- against Derrick Lewis. Cormier has threatened to return to light heavyweight if he loses, but Anthony Smith doesn’t believe he is ever making the cut to 205 again. If that’s true, then the next challenger to Jones at light heavyweight will likely be someone he’s never faced before, and Smith’s recent record is just about as good as any in the division. Only Jan Blachowicz and uber-prospect Dominick Reyes have longer win streaks at 205, and no one has wins over the kind of high-profile names Smith has beaten.
Who should be next in line for the Jon Jones/Gustafsson winner?
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