Light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith believes there is hope for Thiago Santos, who looks to defeat the current champion, Jon Jones, in July.
“Marreta” Santos will be headlining the UFC 239 event against Jones at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be the Brazilian fighter’s first shot at the light heavyweight title.
Anthony Smith, who has faced and lost to both Jones and Marreta, appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and said he believes Santos has a chance at the title:
“I do, I do [think he can win]. He’s fast, he’s explosive,” he said. “I think you put Thiago Santos in there with an elephant he’s got a shot to put it down. The dude is just crazy explosive and he’s fast, there’s no windup. I just think that Jon is really good in the grappling and the wrestling exchanges and I think that clearly, that’s one of Thiago’s holes. I just don’t think that there’s enough time for him to close that gap and Jon is too smart to not take advantage of that. So I think that it’s a tall task for Thiago, but he definitely has a chance that’s for sure.”
While Anthony Smith believes there is a possibility for Thiago Santos to win, he is not convinced the Brazilian’s fighting strategy will match up to Jones’.
Santos appeared on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. He did not win, but subsequently signed with the UFC and has had an extensive career since his 2013 debut.
He’s recently made some fairly incendiary comments about Jon Jones.
“[Jones is] a cheater,” he said (via Forbes). “He uses things that sometimes the ref can’t see. Puts his hand on your eye. Uses non-valid things that sometimes the ref is not in a position to see. Then he hurts you, the ref doesn’t see it, doesn’t stop it and if you stop he’ll hit you and you’ll lose the fight. So, to watch out because he’s a little dirty, Smith told me.”
Jon Jones is one of the greatest fighters of all time. Even the most experienced veterans would be threatened by his fighting record and ability. However, Santos is more concerned with Jones’ behaviour outside the Octagon.
“I think what I’m afraid of the most is that he f***s up before the 6th and the fight doesn’t happen,” Santos said. “That’s my biggest fear. That he messes up and the fight doesn’t happen. Because what we want is this fight.”
What do you think of these comments from Anthony Smith? Do you think Thiago “Marreta” Santos could be the man to beat Jon Jones?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/28/2019.