Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith is in a Tough Spot Following Latest Loss at UFC 303: ‘That Might’ve Put the Nail in the Coffin’

Smith says it's getting "harder and harder" to leave his family for fights that do nothing to help him climb the light heavyweight ladder

Anthony Lionheart Smith
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith is in a tough spot after absorbing another loss inside the Octagon. 

Smith originally agreed to step back inside the Octagon at UFC 303 after Jamahal Hill was forced out of his co-main event matchup with Carlos Ulberg. Having trained with ‘Sweet Dreams’ in the weeks prior, it felt like a good opportunity for Smith to step in and potentially snag a second-straight victory. 

Then the rug was pulled out from under him.

Ulberg exited the bout days away from fight night, forcing the UFC to scour the middleweight division for a replacement opponent. In stepped No. 10 ranked contender Roman Dolidze who was much more of a “stylistic nightmare” for Smith compared to Ulberg. 

“There was almost a moment where I was kind of like, ‘What the f*ck am I doing here?’” Smith said on his Believe You Me podcast with Michael Bisping. “Not so much me, but why am I even in this position right now? I came here to fill in for Jamahal in a matchup that I really liked and that I was very familiar with because of training with Jamahal and helping him out.

“So, it didn’t feel new, but then all of a sudden it’s Dolidze, who I got a lot of respect for. I’ve been very high on Dolidze for a long time. It’s a stylistic nightmare for me. It’s shorter, stocky grappler with good striking. Those guys have always been my kryptonite, those double-threat guys.”

Having lost four of his last six fights, the 35-year-old Smith believes another shot at the light heavyweight title may now be out of reach. 

“Career trajectory-wise, I don’t know. That might’ve put the nail in the coffin on getting a title,” Smith said.

‘Lionheart’ Finds Himself at a ‘Crossroads’ Following Latest Loss

It’s certainly not the first time Anthony Smith has jumped at the chance to take a short-notice fight. In December, he stepped up to fight Khalil Rountree at a Fight Night event in Las Vegas after Rountree’s original opponent, Azamat Murzakanov, bowed out due to a case of pneumonia. 

Smith was KO’d 56 seconds into the third round

“I love fighting,” Smith said. “The problem I’m running into mentally is if I’m not doing it to win a title, am I costing myself more than it’s worth? That’s the crossroads that I’m at. It’s time away from my family, and that’s getting harder and harder.”

 
Published on July 10, 2024 at 4:03 pm
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