UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith has given his thoughts on Jon Jones vacating the Light Heavyweight Championship.
Smith, 32, is hoping to get back to winning ways this Saturday when he squares off against rising star Aleksandar Rakic in a huge fight at 205 pounds. “Lionheart” was beaten by vetern Glover Teixeira in the fifth round of their main event in May, and ever since then he’s been itching to get back into the Octagon.
The former middleweight also has some experience when it comes to Jon Jones, unsuccessfully challenging him for the Light Heavyweight Championship in March 2019. Now, Smith has given his thoughts on “Bones” surrendering the title during this week’s virtual media day.
.@lionheartasmith on Jon Jones vacating the light heavyweight title:
“That’s a noble thing to do.”
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 27, 2020
“Jon Jones is one of those guys where if he gets something, you’re gonna have to peel it out of his cold, dead hands to get it back from him, which is the mentality that makes him so great,” Smith said. “That was a cool look into where Jon Jones was at personally where he was willing to make the type of decision that doesn’t necessarily benefit him that much and it does benefit a lot of other people.
“I’m not typically the guy that’s got a whole bunch of nice things to say about Jon Jones but that’s a noble thing to do [give up the title],” Smith added. “He could’ve held onto that title for a long time and gone up to heavyweight, done his thing, talked about coming back down or not coming back down and drag everyone out for a long time, but he didn’t do that. It was a surprise to me and that says a lot of positive things about where Jon Jones is in his life right now.”
Of course, Anthony Smith still has to focus on his own career, and that includes contemplating a long-awaited grudge match against Luke Rockhold.
“Yeah. As much as I talk badly about Luke Rockhold in the media, to my friends, to almost anyone who will listen, I have never said he is not good at fighting,” Smith said on Sirius XM. “Luke Rockhold is a badass. He is very good, he is a dangerous striker. His top game and jiu-jitsu is legendary, people talk about that s**t in the gym. I have never rolled with him, I know plenty of people who have. Almost all of them say he is a monster on top. I don’t want that to get twisted that because I don’t like him and I talk trash about him, that I don’t think he is good.
“I think if he could – I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an asshole – if he could take a shot and not fall asleep every time, Luke Rockhold is still one of the most dangerous guys in the world,” Smith added. “I would love for the opportunity to compete against a former champion against someone that is as good as Luke Rockhold,” Smith continued. “And, I’d love to beat up someone I don’t like that much. So, I will always jump at an opportunity to fight Luke Rockhold any chance I can get.”
With Jon Jones out of the picture, do you think Anthony Smith could be a future UFC light heavyweight champion?