On Sunday afternoon, Anthony Smith dispatched of another MMA legend, clubbing former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with first-round strikes in the UFC Hamburg main event.
In the wake of this incredible knockout, Smith could have called out pretty much anybody, from Corey Anderson, who won in the UFC Hamburg co-main event, to Jimi Manuwa, who sat cage-side for the card. Instead of calling out either of these men, however, he targeted a showdown with top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson, who he said he was willing to fight on two weeks notice at UFC 227 on August 4.
"Gustafsson, I'll see you in LA!"
— UFC (@ufc) July 22, 2018
Unfortunately it was promptly announced that Gustafsson had sustained an injury, and that he could therefore not compete at UFC 227.
Suffice it to say that Smith finds that fishy.
“That’s ironic, isn’t it?” Smith said at the UFC Hamburg post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “It’s kinda weird how that works out. He needed an opponent yesterday. What happened between then and now? I don’t know, but that’s mighty ironic.”
With Gustafsson off the table, Smith isn’t sure who will come next, though he seems to be interested in Manuwa.
“I saw Jimi Manuwa out there,” Smith said. “Jimi’s a great fighter. He’s a hell of a striker, he’s powerful, and he’s ranked pretty high in the division. I’m not 100 percent sure. I’ll let the UFC and my management figure that out. If not Gustafsson, then I don’t know.
“I called my shot after the Rashad [Evans] fight, that I wanted to fight at UFC Lincoln, and that didn’t work out, so I don’t want to put my name on anything yet, but I think there’s that Denver card that would be pretty cool. I train in Denver, that’s where my team is, I spend a lot of time there so I think Denver would be cool. We’re just gonna enjoy this one for now, and it sounds like the Gus thing is off the table, so we’ll just go from there.”
Who do you want to see Anthony Smith fight next now that Alexander Gustafsson is off the table?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/23/2018.