Anthony Smith survived five rounds with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but was ultimately soundly outclassed in his first bid at UFC gold.
Despite his unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones, however, Anthony Smith is still extremely confident that he can dethrone the legendary champion.
“That’s a beatable man,” Smith said at the UFC 235 post-fight press conference (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I didn’t walk out of there thinking, ‘Wow, he’s a lot better than I thought.’ Like when (Quinton) ‘Rampage’ (Jackson) lost to Jon and he stood there and said. like, ‘This kid’s for real, this guy’s good,’ like almost laying out to Jon. I don’t feel like that.
“I’m not gonna take anything away from him because he did a phenomenal job of doing what he had to do tonight, but I don’t have the feeling that’s a guy that I can’t beat.”
Whatever the case, Anthony Smith believes he proved his standing as a truly elite light heavyweight by going the distance with Jones.
“I absolutely belong here and I think that the fight alone proves that,” Smith said. “I don’t know what other 205ers are gonna f*ck with me, I just don’t see that happening. I was in there, you know what I mean?
“And I don’t feel like I got ran through, I just kind of got shut down. I don’t feel like Jon Jones just went in there and beat the shit out of me, I just couldn’t get going. That’s Jon Jones though. I said I needed to force Jon Jones to fight me and I didn’t do that. He didn’t fight me, he nullified me. It’s going to haunt me for a long time and I’m gonna have to get back to the drawing board and sit down with (coaches) Marc (Montoya) and Scott (Morton) and figure out what the f*ck happened.”
From here, Anthony Smith plans to return to the drawing board and work his way back to a rematch with Jon Jones.
“I’ll be back,” Smith said confidently. “Jon Jones and I will see each other again, that’s for sure. Because there’s no one else in the entire f*cking division that’s gonna do anything about that. I don’t care who it is. There’s no one else that’s gonna stop me from getting back to Jon Jones.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/3/2019.