Anthony Smith is Sick of Young Fighters Trying to Use Him as a Stepping Stone: ‘That P*sses Me Off’

'Lionheart' plans to quiet all the young guns looking to use him as a way into the light heavyweight rankings, starting with Vitor Petrino at UFC 301

Anthony Smith
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Anthony Smith is nobody’s stepping stone.

On May 4, ‘Lionheart’ will return to the Octagon when the promotion heads back to Rio Janeiro for UFC 301. Emanating from Jeunesse Arena, Smith will look to climb into the win column once again when he meets the No. 15 ranked contender at 205, Vitor Petrino. 

Speaking with former UFC fighter Din Thomas on MMA Today, Smith — who currently occupies the No. 10 spot in the light heavyweight rankings — delivered a fiery response when asked why he chose to accept Petrino’s challenge.

“I’m offended,” Smith revealed. “Why didn’t he call out someone higher-ranked? Why didn’t he call out [Aleksandar] Rakic? As far as timelines go, he’s going to be fighting soon. That would be a little closer in terms of two guys fighting around the same time. Why didn’t you call out Rakic or Volkan Oezdemir? Why didn’t you call out any of those guys? Because you think you can beat me. You’re not sure about the other ones and that pisses me off.

“I’m not done. I’m not the old wounded lion that’s just pacing around waiting to be killed by the younger ones. That’s not me. I refuse to be the new Neil Magny. That’s three guys in a month and a half that have fought, won, and called me out. All unranked guys. We’re gonna dead this right in its tracks. Call me a gatekeeper. Call me whatever the hell you want, but the fact is, I’ve been fighting inside the top 10 for a very long time and have been fighting in the rankings in two different weight classes for a very long time.”

Anthony Smith Plans to Make an Example Out of Vitor Petrino

Smith has struggled to see his hand raised as of late, dropping three of his last four fights, including knockout losses against Magomed Ankalaev and Khalil Rountree. As a result of his recent struggles, ‘Lionheart’ has noticed the trend of young athletes, like Petrino, calling him. Smith plans on putting a stop to that by handing ‘Icão’ his first career loss and making an example out of him in his home country. 

“If your favorite fighter isn’t already in the top 10, he won’t be until I’m gone,” Smith said. “F*cking like it or not, that’s just the life that we live in right now. I’ve got a career plan with where I’m headed and it starts with shutting these young guys up, and then we’ll go to the next one.”

He continued, “My plan is, when this is all done, is to not have another young guy open his f*cking mouth with my name in it again.”

Vitor Petrino goes into the fight with a perfect 11-0 record, including four straight wins under the UFC banner. It will be a relatively short turnaround for Petrino who just earned a unanimous decision victory over Tyson Pedro at a Fight Night event on March 2. 

Published on March 14, 2024 at 12:04 pm
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