Anthony Smith explains why taking the belt from Alex Pereira “would mean more” to him

By Cole Shelton - December 7, 2023

Anthony Smith believes he could get a title shot with a win at UFC Vegas 83.

Anthony Smith and Alex Pereira

Smith stepped up on short notice to face Khalil Rountree in the co-main event on Saturday. It’s a key fight for the division, and although Jamahal Hill is likely to be next in line, Smith thinks he can make it clear he’s next in line with a great performance on Saturday.

“I just think I need to not give him any other option. I know champions want to feel like they make all the decisions, if there is no clear contender and I go in there and look really good and put myself in a position where people start asking for it, that will be the fight. We got to hurry up and do it quick because we have Ankalaev and Johnny Walker fighting, let’s do it quick and they want to sign it really fast before those guys fight,” Anthony Smith said at UFC Vegas 83 media day.

If Anthony Smith does get a title shot against Alex Pereira, he believes if he beats the Brazilian and wins the title it would validate his career. He also thinks it would mean more to him to beat Pereira to win the belt, rather than win it off someone else.

“I think it would mean more (to win the belt off Pereira). Since Jon left, the title’s been kind of playing hot potato a little bit. Really all I’ve ever wanted is for my journey to be recognized, you know? I think taking it off of Alex would validate me,” Smith said. “I don’t think anybody could really say anything about that. People would have to respect that. I think it’s a tall task. I think it’s a really tough fight, and that means something as well. Yeah, I think that would mean a lot to me.”

Even though Smith is ranked just eighth at light heavyweight, he and Alex Pereira have a bit of a rivalry, so a story is there for the two to fight. Then, with Hill’s status uncertain, perhaps ‘Lionheart’ can sneakily earn a title shot with a win over Rountree at UFC Vegas 83.

Anthony Smith is 37-18 and coming off a split-decision win over Ryan Spann. The victory over Spann snapped his two-fight losing skid as he lost by decision to Johnny Walker and by TKO to Magomed Ankalaev. In his career, Smith holds notable wins over Jimmy Crute, Alexander Gustafsson, Shogun Rua, and Volkan Oezdemir among others.


Anthony Smith UFC