Anthony Smith booked to return against Aleksandar Rakic

Anthony Smith, Paulie Malignaggi
Image via @ufc on Instagram

Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith is set to return to the cage opposite Austria’s Aleksandar Rakic.

The pair are scheduled to meet on a UFC Fight Night card on August 29. News of this bout was first reported by MMA Play 365 and confirmed by MMA Junkie.

Anthony Smith, who came up short in a light heavyweight title fight with Jon Jones in 2019, last fought on May 13, when he was pummelled to a fifth-round stoppage by a fellow former title challenger in Glover Teixeira.

The bout left Smith with multiple injuries, including missing teeth, and generated much controversy, as many viewers felt it should have been stopped by sooner.

Smith, however, was glad to be given every opportunity to turn things around, and even suggested he’d fired his cornermen if they’d forced a stoppage.

“I feel bad because they’re in a tough spot,” Smith told ESPN after the fight. “I don’t know if they wanted to stop it or if they thought about it. But, I take that option away from them. Before any of this ever happened, before anything, I took that option away a long time ago. If you want to sit in my corner, that’s my rule. You don’t stop the fight. Leave it in my hands. Don’t take it out of my hands. So, I’ve told them before, if you stop the fight, if you throw the towel in, you can go ahead and walk back to the locker room by yourself because I’ll never stand by you again.

“I don’t need liabilities in my corner,” Smith added. “The way that I fight, I end up in shitty spots sometimes. And that’s just how it goes. Most of the time, I’ve been able to come back and win. And sometimes, you can’t. Sometimes you just run out of time, and sometimes it’s just too high of a hill to climb. But, I don’t need those liabilities. I don’t need to be getting to bad spots, working my ass off to try to get to a better position, and constantly have in the back of my head worrying that my corners gonna step in and not give me the opportunity”

Smith, 31, will look to bounce back from this tough loss with a 33-15-0 professional record.

Aleksandar Rakic, on the other hand, will enter his fight with Smith with a 12-2-0 overall record. The Austrian talent last fought in December, 2019, when he lost a razor close decision to former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. Prior to that loss, Rakic was riding high on a pair of highlight reel knockout wins over Devin Clark and Jimi Manuwa.

Who do you think will come out on top when Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic collide this August?