Entering the biggest fight of his career at UFC 235 on Saturday night, Anthony Smith genuinely believed he would be able to defeat current champion Jon Jones. He did not end up getting the job done, but even after those 25 minutes he shared with “Bones”, Smith holds the same sentiments.
“That’s a beatable man,” Smith said during his post-fight presser (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I didn’t walk out of there thinking, ‘Wow, he’s a lot better than I thought.’ Like when ‘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.”
“Lionheart” was more upset about not being able to perform to the best of his abilities, since he never felt dominated during the fight itself.
“I don’t feel like I got ran through, I just kind of got shut down,” Smith explained. “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—k happened.”
Despite the loss, Smith sees a silver lining through his performance against arguably the best light heavyweight fighter in the game today.
“I absolutely belong here and I think that the fight alone proves that. I don’t know what other 205ers are gonna f—k with me, I just don’t see that happening” he said. “I was in there, you know what I mean?”
The loss to Jones snapped Smith’s three-fight win streak, as he now holds a record of 31-14 (with 28 wins by stoppage).