As he entered UFC Stockholm on Saturday, Anthony Smith remained upset and bothered by his loss to Jon Jones last March. But after defeating and retiring hometown here Alexander Gustafsson via fourth-round submission, “Lionheart” is rightfully rejuvenated to get back to title contention.
“I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told Jon – I’ll see you again,” Smith said during a post-fight scrum (transcript by MMA Junkie). “And that’s what I’m working toward. I’m working toward the fight with Jon. I want to get back to the title shot, and that’s the goal.
“So whatever that looks like when I come back, I’ll figure out this hand injury and go from there. I wouldn’t still be here if I wasn’t chasing Jon Jones.”
From his end, the 32-year-old Gustafsson decided to call it quits, stating he feels like he doesn’t have it in him anymore. Smith, however, offered some words of encouragement.
“I just hope that he doesn’t look at a loss to me as something super negative, because I think people are having a hard time getting used to me being at the top,” Smith. “And I don’t think me beating him is a reflection of him falling off the wagon or losing his edge, or not being good any more. I’m just not going to be turned away. I hope that he can look at it like that.
“It sounds silly, but it’s not you, it’s me.”
Smith’s win over Gustafsson bumps his record up to 32-14 (with 29 wins by stoppage), as he bags an extra $50,000 for Performance of the Night honors.