Anthony Smith admits to grappling with retirement, voicing his concern about being “forced out” of the sport.
Smith stepped up on short notice to face Khalil Rountree and suffered a third-round knockout loss back in December. The loss came just under four months after he beat Ryan Spann by split decision.
Heading into the fight, had Smith won, he likely would have been a win or two away from a title shot. However, he suffered a third-round knockout loss, and now following the loss, Smith says he needed to take time to find out why he still wants to fight.
“I don’t want to be the guy that has people telling you that you need to leave. I’d like to go out on my own terms and I don’t want to be forced out. Those questions and those doubts come in, like, ‘Do I belong here? Why am I still doing this?’ Am I doing this because it’s all I know? Because I don’t need the money. I don’t need to take unnecessary damage. I don’t need to get knocked out for no reason,” Anthony Smith said on Believe You Me.
“Like, the money is nice and the paychecks are cool and the adrenaline rush that you get from being in there is awesome, but am I just doing this because I don’t know anything else? It’s all I know, it’s all I’ve done my whole adult life,” Smith continued. “So, I just kind of remove myself from everything and just cut away from all the outside input and just try to figure out what do I really want. Why am I still doing this? Do I still want to fight because I like fighting or is it just because it’s familiar?”
Anthony Smith says he still likes fighting
Ultimately, Anthony Smith says after some time with his thoughts, he realized he still enjoys fighting and wants to do it, and isn’t doing it for the paycheck.
Along with that, Smith believes if he starts just taking it one fight at a time and not worrying about the title shot so much, he may have more success.
“I think I came to the conclusion that I still like fighting and I still want to do it. There’s some things that need to change though. Not just in my game and style. I had a conversation with Glover that I think really helped a lot. Just as we age, you have to change some things. It’s not that you have to quit fighting, it’s not like, ‘oh I’m not as good here, I’ve not progressed here,’ but there’s some things that you’re already good at that you can continue to really shape your game around and just change it a little bit. I also think maybe I need to stop being so focused on the end goal so much,” Smith said.
“Like I just want to fight for the title, maybe I just need to take it one at a time and just face whatever challenge is in front of me and stop, not that I’m looking past people or looking too far ahead, but everything I have wrapped into this fighting thing is about the title. Maybe when I stop being so concerned about the title, maybe I can fully focus on what’s in front of me because it’s always about the repercussions about the loss and the repercussions about the win,” Smith concluded.
As of right now, it’s uncertain when Anthony Smith will return to the Octagon but it is clear ‘Lionheart’ won’t be retiring.