At UFC 235 on March 2, streaking light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith will get his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, which is once again owned by the seemingly unstoppable Jon Jones.
Heading into this fight, fans are not giving Anthony Smith much of a chance. For all his talent and ferocity, Jones has proven himself to be on another level entirely from most of his opposition.
The early odds for the fight reflect this widespread perception. Jones has opened as a huge -500 favorite, while Smith has been pegged as a +350 underdog.
Despite these perceptions, Anthony Smith assures he is far from cake walk for Jones. Speaking to MMAjunkie this week, the top light heavyweight contender addressed the members of the MMA community who expect Jones to put him away early.
“I think it’s goddamn amazing that all these people are assuming that if me and Jon Jones fight, he’s going to get me out of there in one round,” said Smith.
“He doesn’t hit any harder than (Volkan) Oezdemir and Hector Lombard,” he continued. “He’s not any better of a wrestler, for the most part, of guys that I’ve fought. And he’s not any better a jiu-jitsu guy that all the guys I’ve fought. He puts it together better than anyone that’s in the game right now. But he doesn’t wow me anywhere, especially the fight that he just had [against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232].”
“I wasn’t impressed,” he continued. “And I don’t mean it wasn’t a fantastic performance, because it was. But I didn’t watch the fight and think, I couldn’t handle that. I saw a guy that has holes that can be exploited as long as you attack it in the right way.
“I also saw a guy that wasn’t nearly as arrogant. Jon’s biggest attribute is his genuine delusion. Jon is genuinely so delusional and so arrogant that he is unbeatable that it works in his favor, and he almost creates the illusion that is. He fights with this complete arrogance and disregard for his opponents. And if he loses that, he loses a lot of his ability.”
All this to say, Anthony Smith is confident he can be the man to end the seemingly unshakable reign of Jon Jones.
“Jon is one of those guys that thrives in danger, and I think that’s going to work against him at some point in time,” he said. “Eventually, someone’s going to catch up to Jon. His game is too crazy. You can’t be reckless forever, and I think I’m the guy.”
I don’t really give a (expletive) that people remember that Anthony Smith is the first guy to beat Jon Jones. I just want to leave there with the title.”
How do you think Anthony Smith will perform against Jon Jones at UFC 235?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/7/2019.