Anthony Smith’s star is certainly rising and 2018 was definitely his breakthrough year in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with “Lionheart” now penciling in a potential bout with light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
Smith started off the year with a TKO loss to Thiago Santos in February at middleweight before moving up a division and winning three straight fights against Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and finally, Top-5 contender Volkan Oezdemir in October. Smith had been criticized in the past for beating two veteran fighters past their prime but the submission win over “No Time” cemented him as a legitimate contender in the 205-pound division.
Smith is currently ranked third according to the official UFC light heavyweight rankings and recently spoke to TMZ Sports to reveal that his manager is in talks with the UFC about a potential match up with Jones (transcribed by MMA News):
“It sounds like he’s in,” Smith said. “Of course, [my manager] has already been talking to the UFC and I think that they’re working that out and seeing what that looks like as far as timelines and stuff, but I’m in. Any time, any place, anywhere, I’m ready. I’ll fight Jon this weekend if he wants to. It’s what the fans want to see. They don’t want to see Jon go in there and beat up on Corey Anderson or whoever else. They don’t want to see that sh*t. There’s nothing there.”
Smith and Jones exchanged a few words during Jones’ post fight interview on Fox Sports after UFC 232 with Smith pushing to fight the champ in July. Jones has already said he’d like to fight three times in 2019 given his sporadic fight schedule of the past several years.