Daniel Cormier, who now owns the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles, recently stated that he’d like to squeeze in a light heavyweight title defense before he defends his heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar in the new year. Specifically, Cormier is interested in defending his light heavyweight belt against former champion and MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Shogun, of course, is scheduled for a fight with the extremely dangerous Anthony Smith this weekend, yet Cormier didn’t mention Smith’s name.
Initially, Smith was pretty disappointed with the way Cormier ignored him, but now, he feels as though Cormier has added to the stakes of his fight with Shogun
“If he thinks Shogun is the next guy, and I beat him, then I think rightfully, he gave me the opportunity to put my hand up,” Smith told MMAjunkie this week. “I think that he did that for me, and I don’t even know if he realizes that.”
Smith then reiterated that he feels he can earn a title fight with Cormier with a big win over Shogun. That said, his focus is on the matchup at hand.
“[Cormier] isn’t excited about the [Alexander] Gustafsson fight, whether it’s a money thing or a new matchup,” he said. “I think I’m a fresh face, and that’s an exciting matchup for the fans, me versus ‘DC.’ But I haven’t even thought about that right now.”
Anthony Smith recently debuted in the UFC light heavyweight division with a thunderous first-round knockout of Rashad Evans. Evans retired from MMA shortly thereafter.
Smith’s next most recent fight occurred in the middleweight division, where he was stopped by Thiago Santos punches. This loss marked the end of a three-fight streak, highlighted by a knockout of Hector Lombard. He’s 29-13 overall.
Do you think Anthony Smith deserves a title shot with big win over Shogun this Sunday?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/17/2018.