Anthony Smith disagrees with the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.
‘It Doesn’t Make Any Sense To Me’
At UFC 284, we saw the #1 pound-for-pound fighter Alex Volkanovski challenge the #2 ranked Islam Makhachev for the lightweight championship of the world. But, Volkanovski would fall short of double-champ status, losing to Makhachev over the distance.
Despite Makhachev beating Volkanovski, the featherweight champion retained his top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings, which led to much controversy. Smith doesn’t understand how Makhachev is still second to Volkanovski after the win.
“I think everything with the whole pound for pound debate where, where Volkanovski stayed above Islam at number one. I’m gonna be honest with you guys, I don’t know how I feel about that,” Smith said on the Believe You Me Podcast. “All the buildup, all the stuff we did on ESPN leading up to this fight was we’ve never had the pound for pound number one fight the pound-for-pound number two, it’s never happened. Mostly because these guys are kind of spread all over the place as far as the weight classes go.
“So, we finally get it. We have a head-to-head matchup, one guy wins and then they don’t trade places. It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Smith added. “I see the argument for the resume and what they’ve done leading up to that point. I get that argument. Volkanovski absolutely has the better wins. Volkanovski has the bigger names, he’s got the better scalps on his record, but when you have a head-to-head matchup, whoever wins, no matter what, should go above the guy that loses.”
Smith Rates Volkanovski’s Performance 1-10
While Volkanovski definitely gave Makhachev a tough fight, Smith doesn’t believe it was one of the Aussie’s finer performances inside the Octagon… But with this, the former UFC title challenger thinks Volkanovski will be much better should they rematch.
“I don’t think that that was one of even the top five better performances that Volkanovski has had. I don’t know if it was the little bit of extra weight that he was carrying. I don’t know if it was just the style matchup, it could have been the size of Islam, maybe the style that he was having to deal with. There was a bunch of different things it could be, but that’s not the guy that I watched live, fight Max Holloway. The last time he wasn’t nearly as mobile. He wasn’t nearly as dynamic. He was switching his stances, but his entries were different.
“Again, maybe that’s just a style thing. Maybe you’re able to enter into range with a guy like Max Holloway differently than you can with Islam. I’m not trying to be critical of him, but outside looking in, if his performance vs. Max Holloway the last time was a 10 or vs. the Korean Zombie was a 10, I would say that the man I watched fight Islam was at like a six or a seven. So, I think he can be better in a rematch. I think that he can take everything he learned from that and go on. I think there’s an opportunity for him to go in and pitch a shutout.”
Smith Understands The Arguments
While having his own opinion on the matter, ‘Lionheart’ isn’t blind to opposing arguments that Volkanovski should be ranked #1 pound-for-pound.
“I’m just putting myself in Islam’s shoes saying I went in number two to fight the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. I beat him. How in the f*ck did I come out still number two? I get the arguments that almost everyone’s laying out. I think that maybe some of those points in my opinion, um, maybe would fit better in like a greatest of all time list kind of conversation. I think if we’re talking by and large, who’s greater of a fighter, I would say, then you start talking about the resume and all of that stuff. And then, and, and I would have no problem putting Volkanovski above Islam.”