It remains to be seen who Jon Jones is going to fight next, but Anthony Smith is saying all the right things in his effort to secure a bout with the UFC’s light-heavyweight champ.
Jones returned to the cage at UFC 232 on December 29th and reclaimed the 205 crown by stopping Alexander Gustafsson. It was the type of decisive, clear-cut win that Jones needed to demonstrate to the MMA world that he remains an awe-inspiring force in the Octagon (although, some are still raising questions about his most recent issues with USADA, and what’s going to transpire with that moving forward).
Now the big question is, who is going to fight Jones. Since UFC 232, both Corey Anderson and Smith have been outlining their case for a bout with Jones, in fact, the latter kicked that off during the post-UFC 232 broadcast.
“Any time, any place, anywhere, I’m ready,” Smith said. “I’ll fight Jon this weekend if he wants to.
“It’s what the fans want to see,” said Smith. “They don’t want to see Jon go in there and beat up on Corey Anderson or whoever else. They don’t want to see that sh*t. There’s nothing there.”
“Anytime you take out Alexander Gustafsson with a finish, that’s a huge accomplishment,” Smith said. “So hats off to Jon, that was obviously a great performance, but I’ve seen him look better. I saw a beatable man. I saw a guy that I can compete with and a guy that I can beat. I’m not wowed by Jon Jones. That’s not saying that I don’t think he’s a phenomenal fighter, but I’m not afraid of him and I think that Jon has a lot of people beat before they even get in there. I think people look at Jon like he’s an uphill battle and this unreachable task and I don’t see him like that. I’m not wowed by him. I see a man that I can beat and a person with holes, like any other human, that can be exploited.”
Now, even if you’re personally invested in seeing Smith fight Jones, you have to admit the surging fighter is doing a pretty good job in trying to spike interest for that bout. There are lots of people who want to see Jones and Cormier fight for the third time. But since “Bones” already beat “DC” twice at light-heavyweight, and because the latter’s the heavyweight champ, by all indications right now, that bout will only happen at heavyweight. So far, there’s been no sign that Jones is willing to do that.
So, this has created an opportunity for the likes of Smith to fight for the title. By arguing that he sees a “beatable” champ with “holes” in his game, the former middleweight’s keeping his name in the media and likely creating buzz for his shot. In fact, based off the coverage he’s been receiving since UFC 232, that already seems to be well underway.
In today’s MMA game, timing is often everything and Smith’s doing his best to capitalize on this window of opportunity.