Maurice Smith is 50 years old, but he believes he can still beat some of the best fighters in the world.
On March 30, he returned to MMA action for the first time in nearly four years, and he didn’t disappoint. The former UFC heavyweight champion picked apart Jorge Cordoba before knocking him out in the third round of their matchup at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 2.
“It was good to get back in there and play the game,” Smith told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “Age seemed to be everybody’s big concern, or the issue with everybody, but for me, it was just another fight. The guy was a tough kid. … He was above his level, but again, his heart definitely matched mine.”
Smith outclassed Cordoba on the feet, but the 28-year-old hung in there for two and a half rounds. Meanwhile Smith stayed patient, and eventually he delivered a head kick for the finish.
“My goal is to win the fight,” Smith said. “Sure, everybody wants to see a knockout and a great brawl, but I like the art of fighting. I don’t like so much all this brawling. If I can beat you on skills that you should have -- you should be able to block or defend -- I’m happy with that. I have a different mindset than probably most fighters that are kill, kill, kill.”
Smith hadn’t fought in MMA since his June 2008 submission loss to Hidehiko Yoshida. He also dropped to 205 pounds to fight Cordoba, which wasn’t easy.
“Getting to that weight for the first time was quite hard,” Smith said. “That was tremendously hard for me. It took me seven hours to lose [the last several pounds], but once I got to the weight class, I wasn’t weak or what have you. But it shouldn’t take seven hours -- that’s what you’ve got to learn from that.”
Now that Smith has stepped back in the cage and scored a win, he wants to keep going. In fact, he expects to fight three more times this year in the RFA. He also thinks that with his experience and his striking skills, he can compete with the top light heavyweights in the sport.
“What’s the point in fighting if you can’t?” he asked. “Listen, I’m not focused on looking for a title necessarily, but I want to fight the best guys there are. Who’s to say that a guy who’s 205 and at the elite level is going to kick my butt? It’s not because of my age that I’m going to lose. … The guy that’s going to beat me is going to beat me because he’s a better fighter, not because of my age.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:21:20).