Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith got back to his winning ways last weekend with a first-round submission victory over Devin Clark. The win was an important one for Smith who was coming into the fight against Clark on a two-fight skid with losses to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic in 2020. Smith has not had an easy year like many people both inside and outside of combat sports, besides the two losses, he and his family suffered a home-invasion back in April although thankfully no one in his family was seriously hurt.
Even heading into the fight against Clark, Smith dealt with a different kind of adversity before the fight. During Friday’s early morning weigh-ins, it was announced that the event had lost the main event between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19, and in a scramble, Smith and Clark agreed to move their fight to the main event slot and go from a three-round fight to a five-round contest.
Following his victory, “Lionheart” was back on his weekly Sirius XM radio show, ‘MMA Tonight’ and opened up about his victory over Clark and where he’s at mentally as he gets through the hellacious year of 2020.
When it comes to the victory, Anthony Smith told his co-host RJ Clifford that he felt a different energy before the fight and he felt confident as he made his walk to the Octagon.
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) December 2, 2020
“I was on, man. I don’t think anyone would have beaten me [that night]. Just where I was at mentally, I was just in a good place. I remember walking and then my music started playing, I do remember that going through my head ‘it wouldn’t matter who the f**k he was. Nobody was beating me. I was just on. I felt really good, I was happy to be there, I was in a good place.”
Smith certainly sounded re-energized by his win over Clark but also is not ready to just say that one performance got him back to where he wants to be.
“I think that it’s going to take more performances and more moments like that fight [against Clark]. But the one thing I will say is I am notorious for letting guys into fights that shouldn’t be close. I usually fight to the level of my opponent. Typically, I would have a tough fight with Devin Clark and then have a tough fight with [Alexander] Gustafsson, those two things shouldn’t happen. If you have a tough fight with Gus and beat him, you should smash a guy like Devin Clark. Typically, that’s not how I do it. But I think I did to Devin Clark exactly what I’m supposed to do, what people would’ve expected if you take away those last two fights.”
Anthony Smith’s win over Clark is exactly how a fighter like him should bounce back, according to UFC President Dana White who sounded impressed and pleased by Smith’s victory last weekend.
Now that Smith is back in the win column, it’ll be interesting to see who the UFC decides to put him up against in his next fight.