Anthony Smith heard about a fight between Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic reportedly being planned for next year, and the No. 4 ranked light heavyweight contender has some concerns over it.
Smith was supposed to meet Rakic in a rematch that was agreed for an event in December but ‘Lionheart’ was immediately forced out of it. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery following his first-round submission win over Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 37 and was expected to be on the sidelines for only a few weeks of recovery. That timeline changed after he contracted staph infection, and Smith could no longer fight before the end of the year.
Rakic did not want to wait for Smith, and the rematch was essentially dead in the water. Though avenging a loss and moving one step closer to another championship opportunity with a win was ideal for Smith, he was due for a big fight. Smith told Ariel Helwani on an episode of The MMA Hour that the UFC came to him about Blachowicz, who had just lost the title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 in October. The one-time title challenger was on board for a meeting with the former champion, but that fight also appears to be a no-go in light of the potential booking with Rakic.
Smith spoke with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting on a recent edition of The Fighter vs. The Writer and wondered where he fits in the current landscape of the division now that all of the top five names have been booked against each other.
“I’m afraid that because I’m indifferent [about who I fight next], I’m going to get left out in the cold,” said Smith. “It would be a real s—tty deal if Jiri Prochazka gets the title shot and then Rakic and Blachowicz fight each other and then that kind of leaves me kind of sitting around with my hands out.”
Smith also questioned why Rakic was being rewarded with a fight against Blachowicz in the first place, considering his apparent tendency to turn down opponents. In comparison with the “anyone, anytime, anywhere” approach to his fights, Smith cannot help but feel that Rakic getting Blachowicz is a bit unfair.
“I know for a fact he’s turned down several fights since his last fight with Thiago Santos,” said Smith. “It would be super unfortunate if Rakic kind of gets to sit around and turn down the fights that he doesn’t like and then gets the biggest fight available in the division. That would hurt my feelings, to be honest with you, especially being a guy who takes every single fight offered and the ones that nobody wants.
“Nobody wants to fight Ryan Spann,” continued Smith. “It’s a tough out. He’s just tough. Whether you think that you’re better than him in every aspect of the game, he has that equalizer right hand that just changes the whole trajectory of the fight. Jimmy Crute is not a fun fight. There’s nothing fun about that dude. There’s nothing fun about preparing for him, and I mean that with the utmost respect because of how tough he is. And no one wants to fight Devin Clark because it’s just a tough fight for no reason. You don’t get a lot out of it and it’s a tough ass dude.”
Smith has plans for a return to the Octagon in early 2022.