Anthony Smith
Lionheart
Will face Alexander Gustafsson in June
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 9, 2019
Smith will face Alexander Gustafsson in a light heavyweight bout at UFC FIght Night on June 1, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The two most recent light heavyweight title contenders will face off in a bout that will help reshape the top of the division. Smith was able to go the distance in a fight champion Jon Jones dominated in March, while Jones finished Gustafsson in the third round back in December. The stakes are high in this fight, with both fighters looking to get back into title contention.
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Can't solve riddle that is Jon Jones
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 2, 2019
Smith came up short in his quest for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Jon Jones via unanimous decision (44-48, 44-48, 44-48) at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
As has been the case for everyone who had come before him, Smith's offensive and defensive game plan vanished once he got into the octagon with Jones. While he was by no means overwhelmed by his opportunity, Smith was unable to get in any sort of groove. He was giving up a massive amount of length to Jones despite the fact the two men are the same height and Smith struggled to reach the champion with any sustained attacks. Smith was the victim of an illegal shot by Jones at the end of Round 4 and he very easily could have said he couldn't continue, but that's not how Smith operates and he deserves credit for it. "Lionheart" deserved this chance, but he's not capable of defeating Jones. It's possible no one is. A true respected veteran of the sport, Saturday was Smith's 45th professional fight. Even though he came up short, it was nice to see him get his chance in the spotlight. He earned it.
Title shot confirmed
Light HeavyweightUFC
January 29, 2019
Smith's light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 235 on March 2 was officially confirmed Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
Jones was granted a one-fight license by the Nevada Athletic Commission, allowing the fight to go forward. Jones will undergo two drug tests a month leading up to the event. He'll be permitted to fight if the trace amount of a steroid metabolite remains in his system as long as the levels don't increase, as there's no evidence to suggest he's readministered the steroid since originally being punished for it back in July of 2017. Assuming Jones passes those tests, Smith will get his shot at the title.
Next up for title shot
Light HeavyweightUFC
January 6, 2019
Smith is tentatively scheduled to take on Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This is clearly the fight the promotion intends to make, but the one potential obstacle will be an upcoming hearing for Jones in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 29. Should Jones get clearance, Smith will be in for both the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime. Though Smith needed a come-from-behind effort to boost his winning streak to three against Volkan Oezdemir in October, he's still been on an impressive run since moving up to the 205-pound division. He won't be at a tremendous size disadvantage to Jones with both men standing at 6-foot-4, but Smith will concede an eight-inch reach advantage. Nobody has been able to figure out the puzzle that is Jon Jones to date, and look for Smith to enter as a sizable betting underdog as he looks to do so.
Scores comeback win in UFC Moncton main event
Light HeavyweightUFC
October 27, 2018
Smith defeated Volcano Oezdemir via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:26 of Round 3 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick.
ANALYSIS
Smith lost the first two rounds of this fight, but he came back in the third round with a submission. In those first two rounds, Smith ate a lot of shots, and he ended the second round with Oezdemir on his back looking for the hooks. However, in the third round, he started to consistently land his strikes. Oezdemir began to tire, and Smith went for a takedown. From the back, he worked to lock in the choke. Smith has now won three fights in a row including a pair of wins over former UFC champions Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua.
Fighting in UFC Moncton main event
Light HeavyweightUFC
August 2, 2018
Smith has been booked to fight Volkan Oezdemir in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Moncton on Oct. 27.
ANALYSIS
Smith is coming off a victory over Shogun Rua via KO in Round 1 of the main event at UFC Fight Night 134, which boosted is UFC record to 6-2. The 30-year-old has been on a tear as of late, as he will enter October's fight having emerged victorious in five of his last six appearances. Fight fans might argue that Smith's recent knockout streak has been built against past-their-prime fighters, but he now gets the opportunity to change that perception against the No. 2-ranked light heavyweight contender. He'll own slight height and reach advantages in a match that's expected to be a standup battle, and a victory would cement Smith's case for a title shot in the immediate future.