Anthony Smith picked up perhaps the biggest win of his career at UFC Stockholm, submitting multiple-time light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson. Yet arguably the biggest headlines from the event surrounded Gustafsson’s surprise retirement announcement.
In the lead-up to this fight, Gustafsson had suggested that he might hang up the gloves if he lost to Smith, as a loss would be an indicator he can longer compete at the highest level.
Anthony Smith believes Gustafsson should look at the situation through a different lens. He says the outcome of their fight has less to do with Gustafsson’s waning skill and more to do with his own will to win.
“I just hope that he doesn’t look at a loss to me as something super negative, because I think people are having a hard time getting used to me being at the top,” Smith said post-fight, discussing his vanquished opponent (via MMA Junkie). “And I don’t think me beating him is a reflection of him falling off the wagon or losing his edge, or not being good any more. I’m just not going to be turned away. I hope that he can look at it like that.
“It sounds silly, but it’s not you, it’s me.
“I just put my head down and I just grind,” he concluded. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: I’m going to be a world champion, or I’m going to die trying. I’m not going to stop. So all these people that keep talking about me being a fluke, or being a flash in the pan, you guys are doing yourself a disservice, because I’m coming. And I’m not going anywhere.”
What do you think of these comments from Anthony Smith? Do you think Alexander Gustafsson’s retirement will stick?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/2/2019.