Anthony Smith Doubts Jon Jones Will Ever Fight Sergei Pavlovich: ‘I’m Sure There’s Other Stuff Jon Wants to Do’

Anthony Smith doesn't believe Jon Jones will have an interest in fighting Sergei Pavlovich and suggests another opponent for the Russian knockout artist

Anthony Smith
Courtesy of @MMAFighting on Twitter

Anthony Smith doesn’t expect to see Jon Jones take on Russian heavyweight contender Sergei Pavlovich before hanging up his gloves for good. 

Pavlovich made waves in the UFC’s biggest division after securing his sixth-straight first-round knockout against perennial contender Curtis Blaydes at a UFC Fight Night event on April 22. Moving to 18-1 overall, many believe Pavlovich should be the next man in line for a heavyweight title opportunity. However, with Jon Jones currently tied to a high-stakes superfight with general consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic later this year, Pavlovich could be waiting quite a while for his own UFC title opportunity. 

Speaking with James Lynch in a LowKick MMA exclusive, former Jon Jones opponent Anthony Smith, shared his thoughts on the heavyweight champions’ future and whether or not he will opt to retire before being tasked with taking down the Russian knockout artist. 

“[Jon Jones] wants to beat the greatest of all time at heavyweight and I totally get that. But after that, then what is there? At some point in time, Jon’s gonna be like, ‘Man, I want to do some other shit.’ You know, something else I want to do with my life because I think about that sometimes too. I’m going to be 35 this summer and I’m by no means talking about retirement, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel and it’s closer than it used to be.

“Jon’s a little bit older than I am so I’m sure that he’s having those same, ‘Alright, this is a lot of fun and I’m going to keep doing this for a little bit,’ but I’m sure there’s other stuff that Jon wants to do and after that, how excited is Jon going to be for Sergei Pavlovich?”

Anthony Smith Wants to See Sergei Pavlovich Matched Up Against Ciryl Gane

The current situation could have Pavlovich potentially sitting on the sidelines for a year or more while waiting for Jones and Miocic to settle their business. Instead of looking on, Smith would like to see the Russian juggernaut match up with former interim heavyweight titleholder Ciryl Gane to establish a clear contender. 

“I would love to see Sergei vs. Ciryl Gane, Stipe vs. Jon and we’ll see what happens,” Smith added. 

Gane has dropped two of his last three, coming up short against former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and reigning titleholder Jon Jones in his most recent appearance. Still holding strong as the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the promotion, a matchup with Pavlovich would make a lot of sense as it would pit the top-two ranked contenders in the division against one another. 

Published on April 28, 2023 at 4:03 pm
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