When Anthony Smith knocked out former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC Hamburg on Sunday, he established himself as one of the top contenders in the UFC light heavyweight division. Unfortunately, he feels the division is a bit of a disaster at present.
Really, it’s easy to understand where Smith is coming from with these comments.
The current light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, recently moved up to heavyweight, where he captured the divisional title with a first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic. At present, there’s no certainty that he’ll return to the light heavyweight division before his planned March retirement.
The former champion Jon Jones, who is the best fighter to ever compete in the division, is currently tied up in a complicated situation with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and is not likely to fight any time soon.
The top light heavyweight contender, Alexander Gustafsson, is currently injured. Volkan Oezdemir, another top contender, is also injured.
Yes, it’s easy to understand why Anthony Smith is left scratching his head when he looks at the top of the division he now calls home.
“I know that DC [Daniel Cormier] wanted to fight Shogun for whatever reason and completely looked past me,” Smith said of the division at the UFC Hamburg post-fight press conference (via Sherdog). “I said this last week, let them keep talking about each other, but the whole topic of the conversation is gonna change after this fight and I think that’s where we’re at right now. I don’t know what DC’s got planned right now. We’ll see what other tricks he’s got up his sleeve.
“The top of the division is a disaster right now,” he continued. “Shogun was supposed to be next and now he’s not. No one knows what’s going on with Cormier. I think that that’s the first step, we need to figure out if Cormier’s staying or going.
“I’ve said this before, I think that Daniel is an honorable man and it wouldn’t be a very honorable thing to do to hold up the division. He knows right now. You guys could ask him 100 times and he won’t tell you, but he knows if he’s coming back down or not, and I think that he needs to make that public so we can figure out what we’re all doing.”
How do you think things will shake out in the chaotic light heavyweight division? Where do you think the surging Anthony Smith fits into the madness?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/23/2018.