Anthony Smith has been turning heads in the Octagon, by rattling off three straight wins in the Octagon to move into the UFC’s light-heavyweight title shot mix. But, following his pivotal win over Volkan Oezdemir on Saturday, “Lionheart” is still making headlines via comments he’s making about Jon Jones.
Smith took on Oezdemir in the main event of UFC Moncton this past weekend, and proceeded to finish the feared slugger with a third round, rear-naked-choke. Since Oezdemir was sitting in the #2 spot at 205, prior to the event, Smith has moved himself into the title shot conversation.
Of course, anytime you talk about the light-heavyweight division, Jones is going to enter the discussion, particularly since he’s fighting Alexander Gustafsson December 29th, for the soon to be vacated title. Well, following Smith’s win over Oezdemir, he appeared on the latest “MMA Hour”, and here’s some of what he had to say about facing Jones (quote via MMA Fighting):
“I’d rather fight Jon Jones, because no one has a legitimate win over Jon Jones, and that’s the stuff that really gets me up,” Smith said. “Deep down, I truly believe that I can beat Jon Jones. But deep down, I know that I might not be able to — and that’s what drives me. That’s what motivates me. I’ve been thinking about Jon Jones since I’ve been at 205. It’s never been about ‘Shogun’ or Rashad or even Volkan. It’s trying to get through as many people as I can get through to get to Jon Jones.
“I think that Volkan is one of the tougher matchups for me in the entire division just because of the way that he fights. I think that Jon Jones is less dangerous than Volkan is — Jon Jones isn’t one-punch knocking out anybody,” Smith said. “It’s just, that’s not his style. He’s super crafty, he’s dynamic, I think he has a high fight IQ, but I think that he’s hittable, and I think that I match up with him size-wise pretty well. Obviously he’s got a longer reach than everybody in the entire UFC, but I think that Jon Jones beats a lot of people in that short range with the elbows and stuff, and I think that I’m just as dangerous in that elbow fighting range as anybody in the division.”
So, this is an interesting take from Smith. Sure, others have argued in the past that they have the power to take out Jones, etc, but, Smith’s comments here regarding the clinch are particularly intriguing. It’s certainly true that both men are known for having nasty elbows, and Jones hasn’t really faced anyone who possesses that threat.
A key question here is whether Smith can negate Jones’ takedowns and his punishing top game. The former champ’s wrestling is yet another reason why he’s one of the most talented fighters we’ve seen to date. But, there’s no question that Smith’s confidence is running extremely high these days, and understandably so.
First things first for Jones, however, and that’s getting by “The Mauler” at UFC 232.