Aleksandar Rakic wants to make Anthony Smith “pay” for brutal training camp

Anthony Smith, Aleksandar Rakic

UFC light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Rakic intends on making Anthony Smith “pay” for what he says was a brutal training camp.

Rakic takes on Smith in the main event of this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 33 event. Oddsmakers have instilled Rakic as a hefty betting favorite entering the fight. Prior to dropping a narrow split decision to Volkan Oezdemir, Rakic was riding a four-fight win streak in the UFC. Had he beaten Oezdemir, he would be in the title mix right now.

Speaking to E. Spencer Kyte of UFC.com, Rakic spoke about the matchup with Smith. The Austrian said that intends on making Smith “pay” because he had to spend the last two months away from his family putting in hard sparring at American Top Team Zagreb.

“This fight is the biggest fight of my career and the most important fight for me. I wasn’t with my family for almost two months. I went through hell in Zagreb and someone needs to pay for that and it’s going to be Anthony Smith. I need to make a statement and I will make a statement on Saturday,” Rakic said.

Rakic said that he respects Smith as an opponent, but he intends of taking out his frustrations on him after enduring a tough training camp for this fight in Croatia.

“Anthony is an experienced guy. He fought five rounds against Jon (Jones) and has fought many former champions — Rashad (Evans), Shogun (Rua)— and he’s a good opponent at this time for me,” Smith said.

“He has the lion heart, like his nickname, he’s mentally very strong and he can take a beating, plus he can also bring it and finish people. But I’m the most explosive guy in the division — that’s why they call me ‘Rocket’ — and I’m going to show that on Saturday night.”

Who do you think wins, Aleksandar Rakic or Anthony Smith?