While he has been around the sport for about 10 years now, Anthony Smith’s 2018 may just be the most memorable of his professional MMA career.
After a February loss to Thiago Santos that earned Fight of the Night honors, Smith has since rebounded with impressive finishes of Rashad Evans at UFC 225 and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua one month later. Smith, who has won 13 of his 15 bouts since 2014, will look for another huge win against former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in the main event of UFC Moncton on Oct. 27.
And Smith has promised he’s going to attempt to make a statement when competing against Oezdemir.
“I promise you that I’m going to demolish Volkan,” Smith said at media day. “It’s not even going to be close. I’m telling you: It’s going to be a dominant performance, and what you guys are going to read is that Volkan didn’t even deserve to be at the top, and he just had a quick rise, and no one really knew how good he was, and now we really know that he’s not that good.”
For Oezdemir, this bout will mark his first UFC contest since falling short in a light heavyweight title shot against Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 back in January. Oezdemir has been vocal in the lead-up to the bout, writing off Smith’s recent performances and abilities.
And while he has been the tamer of the two in the build, Smith admits Oezdemir’s words left a bad taste in his mouth.
“Just the total disregard and disrespect for me that he has. I haven’t said too much about it, but I plan on reminding him of everything on Saturday for sure,” Smith said. “[I don’t like] the stupid s***. Like, ‘Now it’s time for me to find out what it’s like at the top of the division.’ What the hell does that mean? How did it work out for him the last time he was at the top of the division? It didn’t work out too God damn good if you ask me.
“Talking about how I’m not a great striker, and he only wanted to fight me because of the hype right, and I don’t really deserve it. Like, that’s just some arrogant s***. I told him a month ago, ‘Be very careful what you say because you don’t want to feel stupid later on when I throw it in your face.’”
And Smith seeks a title opportunity in his next bout — the same kind of title opportunity Oezdemir yearns to get back to. With a win, Smith will set his sights on the winner of the upcoming UFC 232 light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
In fact, Smith hopes for another quick finish, that way he can serve as a fill-in should either man pull out.
“Nothing against those guys, but they don’t really have the best track record of staying in fights,” Smith said. “They do have a tendency to have situations come up. I’ll stay ready for that one, and if not I’ll look to come back in July. It’ll be nice to have a break and work on building some skills between that.”
Original Story: MMAJunkie