Anthony Smith has bombed his way into the top ten of the light-heavyweight division, and has a pivotal fight this Saturday with Volkan Oezdemir. But, don’t expect “Lionheart” to turn into a more conservative, “point fighter”, in an effort to safely secure a title shot.
Thanks to back-to-back, devastating KO wins over former champs Rashad Evans and “Shogun” Rua, Smith has been booked for a high stakes bout this weekend with Oezdemir. The latter is currently ranked #2 in the 205 division, so if the #10 ranked Smith can defeat the heavy handed fighter at UFC Moncton, he’ll be in the title shot conversation.
So, clearly there’s a lot riding on this Saturday’s bout, and in the past, we’ve seen some fighters come with more strategic and safe game plans for pivotal fights. But, while talking to MMA Junkie recently, Smith had this to say about his mindset, and his aggressive approach to fighting.
“I think it really comes down to who you are as a person and who you are deep in your soul,” Smith said. “Are you the person that’s going to do the bare minimum to stay away from damage and win the points battle? Or are you someone that’s just going to jump in the fire, and if you get burned, you get burned? That tends to be more my style. I don’t think I could be a quote-unquote point fighter, or someone who’s just trying to grind down decisions.
“I don’t think I could do that. I don’t think I have the patience for that. If the gameplan was to grind Volkan out, after the first or second round I’d just get sick of that (expletive) and I’d just want a firefight. I don’t think I could do that. As far as being better, the pressure is definitely there. But as far as exciting, I think that’s just who I am.”
Now, considering how dangerous Oezdemir is, this doesn’t mean we’re going to see Smith throw caution to the wind and firing shots recklessly. But, it certainly sounds like we’re going to see the pressuring, aggressive fighter that’s gone 6-2 since returning to the UFC in 2016. That approach has also led to stoppage wins over Hector Lombard, Andrew Sanchez, and Elvis Mutapcic, in addition to the KO victories over Evans and Rua. So, clearly Smith is doing something right.
So, it’s going to be interesting to see how Saturday’s headliner unfolds. Based off the abilities of both “No Time” and “Lionheart” it would be pretty, pretty shocking if we saw a five round fight.
UFC Moncton will be hosted by the Moncton Events Centre.