Smith Calls Jon Jones “Hittable”

Following his submission victory over Volkan Oezdemir, Anthony Smith wants a shot at whoever walks out of UFC 232 as UFC light heavyweight champion.

“I just took out the No. 2 guy in the world. I’ve finished two former world champions back-to-back and then the No. 2 contender,” Smith said Monday on The MMA Hour. “The No. 1 contender’s fighting for the title and I think that Daniel Cormier has all but left the division. I don’t think that he’s coming back to 205. I don’t know who else would be in front of me. I don’t know who else is a legitimate threat to either one of those guys, no matter who wins the title. You might be able to throw (Ilir) Latifi in there, but if Gustafsson wins [against Jones], then that’s definitely out the window.

“So, I genuinely believe that I’m the only legitimate threat to either one of those guys. And I’m finishing people. There’s guys who are winning, but I’m finishing guys.”

When asked whether Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson, he felt the choice was fairly cut and dry.

“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.

“People can say all day that doubt is a bad thing, but I don’t think that it is,” Smith added. “I think doubt motivates people, depending on who you are. I think that Jon Jones being the tallest task in the entire UFC will bring the best out of me, and I think that one of my biggest downfalls is that I tend to fight to my opponent’s level, and fighting up to my opponent’s level is always going to be a positive. You hear people talk bad about fighting to someone’s level when you’re fighting down to them, but I think that I’m one of those guys that I just rise to the occasion when I need to, and I think that I would do the same with Jon Jones.”

Smith feels that the stylistic differences between he and Jones would be able to stymie 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.”

“I would imagine that [title] fight would have to be on a pretty big card, so maybe May or June,” Smith said of his return to the Octagon after a break. “I’d be fine with waiting until July for International Fight Week or something like that, I think that’d be a lot of fun. But I definitely need a break. I need to sit back and I need to be a dad for a little while. I think I had five fights in 13 months, and that’s just a lot of traveling, and I missed out on a couple vacations I was supposed to take my kids on, so I’ve got a lot of making up to do.”


Initial Report: MMA Fighting

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