Most people would likely argue there’s no shame in losing to Jon Jones. But, Anthony Smith has made it abundantly clear that he’s not happy with how he performed against the UFC’s light-heavyweight champ, and storied fighter…
Smith was booked to face the champ back in March, after taking out Rashad Evans, “Shogun” Rua and Volkan Oezdemir in consecutive fights. Although Smith hung in there against “Bones” for 25 minutes, “Lionheart” lost the fight via a clear cut, decision.
Well, fast forward to today, and Smith is scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson tomorrow at UFC Stockholm. Since both fighters are coming off losses to Jones, a win is likely needed to remain in the top five. But, while discussing tomorrow’s bout recently with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, as well as his loss to Jones, Smith said this (quote via MMA Mania):
“I didn’t fight anywhere close to what I am capable of, and that is what is so frustrating. I am so much better than that and I was so much better than that in training camp. It’s not that Jon did anything I wasn’t expecting.”
“He did everything I expected him to do and he didn’t do anything I wasn’t ready for. That’s what’s frustrating because I am better than that. I am way better than that. That’s what drives me crazy is that I didn’t even give myself a shot at it…”
“…Because honestly I don’t give a sh-t what happens, I just want to perform. I want to go in there and just … I need to destroy something to get this feeling out of my stomach. This burning, sick feeling that I can’t shake. The only way I am going to do that is I got to let it out on somebody because I wasn’t able to let it out on Jon.”
Pretty compelling stuff no? Whether you think Smith is going to get by Gustafsson or not (he’s the betting lines underdog), clearly the noted finisher has a lot of confidence in his abilities. The fact he believes he could have done much better against one of the all-time greats says something.
So, it’s going to be really interesting to see if we see a more aggressive version of Smith against “The Mauler”. It kind of sounds like we will.
Here is the line-up for UFC Stockholm (if you haven’t heard, Ilir Latifi is no longer fighting Volkan Oezdemir due to a back injury).
Main Card (ESPN+ – 1 p.m. ET)
205 lbs.: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith
205 lbs.: Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic
145 lbs.: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Chris Fishgold
155 lbs.: Christos Giagos vs. Damir Hadzovic
145 lbs.: Daniel Teymur vs. Sung Bin Jo
Prelims (ESPN2 – 10 a.m. ET)
135 lbs.: Tonya Evinger vs. Lina Lansberg
155 lbs.: Stevie Ray vs. Leonardo Santos
170 lbs.: Nick Hein vs. Frank Camacho
135 lbs.: Bea Malecki vs. Eduarda Santana
205 lbs.: Darko Stosic vs. Devin Clark
155 lbs.: Joel Alvarez vs. Danilo Belluardo
170 lbs.: Rostem Akman vs. Sergey Khandozhko