LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White had rave critiques for Anthony Smith after an important profession victory in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 18 headliner.
Smith (33-16 MMA, 9-6 UFC) got here into his gentle heavyweight primary occasion towards Devin Clark (12-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on the heels of pair of definitive losses. He wanted to rebound to show he’s nonetheless a contender, and did as a lot with a first-round submission win at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
White acknowledged this was a crossroads battle for “Lionheart,” and was impressed by his response.
“He appeared superior,” White instructed reporters, together with MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN 18. “He got here in to make a press release, and message obtained. He appeared good.”
It’s been a tough yr for Smith each contained in the octagon and out. He’s handled private hardship, including a home invasion that put his household below the highlight. His place within the 205-pound rankings was deterred, as effectively, however he confirmed reliance in beating Clark.
There was nothing easy in regards to the lead-up to this battle, although. After the unique headliner between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis was known as off on weigh-in day, Smith’s battle was promoted to the primary occasion, and altered to 5 rounds from three.
Smith remained composed all through all of the adjustments, nevertheless, and did his work contained in the cage when the time arrived. That’s what White desires to see out of his fighters, he mentioned, and now issues are wanting up for Smith.
“These are the belongings you’ve bought to do,” White mentioned. “You’ll see on this enterprise quite a bit, guys who attempt to maintain their spots and never battle anyone. That ain’t the best way to do it. What he did tonight, that’s the best way you do it. Are you continue to that good? For those who’re nonetheless that good, then you need to exit and do what you probably did tonight to a man like Devin Clark: (a) younger, hungry stud who desires to work his means up and steal your spot. You’ve bought to exit and make a press release, and he did that tonight. Folks respect that.”