Anthony Smith may be a huge underdog going into his title shot against Jon Jones in March, but there’s at least one fellow contender out there who thinks “Lionheart” may have more of a chance than he’s being given.
Jones recaptured the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight belt last month in the main event at UFC 232 with his emphatic third round submission victory over Alexander Gustafsson in their rematch bout. He was returning to the Octagon after a 15-month suspension handed down to him from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for testing positive for the drug turinabol.
After Jones’ victory, fans were calling for a trilogy fight with Cormier or for the champion to move up a weight division to test himself against the bigger fighters at heavyweight. Instead, the 205 pound king decided to take a fight against the red-hot Smith who is in the best form of his career after registering three straight victories in 2018 over Rashad Evans, Maurcio Rua and Volkan Oezdemir to propel himself into title contention.
However deserving Smith might be, however, the latest odds between Jones and Smith show a huge gulf in the betting lines with Jones the prohibitive favorite to win in March.
However, surging light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes who is a perfect 10-0 in his MMA career -- the last four in the UFC -- has provided his thoughts on the title fight and believes the underdog Smith can land an upset, provided he doesn’t get intimidated by the man many people consider the greatest MMA fighter of all-time.
Reyes was interviewed recently on MMAJunkie Radio and said while he wants Jones to retain the belt so he can be the one to beat him; he believes Smith can pull off his own upset (courtesy of MMA Junkie):
“I want Jones to win, but I think Smith can catch him,” he said. “Smith is a tough competitor, he throws hands. If he goes out there and throws caution to wind, he might get him.”
Reyes says Jones is a master strategist and adjusts his game plan on the fly, so the best way to combat him is to ignore the fact you’re facing the best fighter on the planet.
“When you fight Jones, you’ve got to look at this, he’s got master strategists in his corner, he always follows the game plan,” he said. “You need to understand, how will you beat yourself? Then you need to adapt, just like he adapts mid-fight. You kind of have to go ‘F the Jon Jones lore.’ You’ve got to forget that.”
Reyes said Smith should take the fight to Jones as “he’s just a man” and if he can’t do it in March then Reyes will be happy to beat him when he gets his shot.
“He’s just a man, fight him,” he said. “Don’t be scared of him. Those things you need to beat Jones. I’m going to beat Jones if nobody else does.”