Anthony Smith was relieved to get a win again and is now looking to slowly get back into title contention.
Smith returned to the win column following a first-round triangle choke submission victory over Devin Clark in the UFC Vegas 15 headliner last night.
As a result, the former light heavyweight title challenger not only snapped a two-fight losing skid, but also ended what has been a tumultuous year for him personally on a considerable high.
“You forget what it feels like to win,” Smith said at the post-fight press conference. “I remember what a loss in 2006 felt like as an amateur. But you do forget what it’s like to win. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself.
“I don’t know, it’s been a crazy goddamn year and it hurts even more when you’re losing to people you know you can beat. Had Glover been a three-round fight, I win that fight. Had I not gotten the two leg kicks, I’m fairly confident I beat Rakic. Both of those guys did great jobs, they’re both incredible competitors. Sometimes, the shoe just drops like that. It’s just the break-in and COVID and getting my teeth knocked out, it’s just a mess man, so it feels really good back where I belong.”
Smith Ready To Fight Lower-Ranked Opponents
Despite returning to the win column, Smith isn’t thinking of calling for a top-five opponent just yet. He knows he needs a few more wins before he can get back into title contention.
That’s why he is open to fighting opponents ranked lower than him and Paul Craig — who recently earned the biggest win of his career following a TKO victory over Mauricio Rua — is a fight that interests him.
“I’m kind of open. I know what my last year looked like,” he said when asked who he’d like to face next. “I did to Devin Clark what I’m supposed to do to Devin Clark. I’m not saying that I’m not happy with that win, but if anything other than that happened, we have a problem. So I’m not going to be the guy that says I’m f*cking next in line. If I’ve got to stay down in the rankings and find my way back to fighting those top-five guys, that’s what I’ll do.
“I think I saw something about Paul Craig had brought my name up. That’s a fun matchup. That’s a fun grappling matchup. I love his style. I could listen to his interviews forever. He seems like a cool dude. As far as the timeline, as long as I have enough time to get ready, I’m good.”
That was music to Craig’s ears as he called for a Fight Island showdown with “Lionheart” on social media soon after.
“Great triangle victory @lionheartasmithfancy a trip to #fightisland”
— Paul Craig (@PCraigmma) November 29, 2020
Craig recently moved up to No. 14 in the light heavyweight ranks and a win over Smith — currently ranked joint-sixth — could spearhead him into title contention himself.