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We caught up with @LionheartSmith at the @UFCPI to discuss his preparation for #UFCMoncton, what makes him a force at light heavyweight and more : pic.twitter.com/e3dOsbxnm5
— UFC News (@UFCNews) October 23, 2018
Momentum is a funny thing and once it gets going everything can change. Just look at heavyweight Derrick Lewis. The Black Beast has had one heck of a 2018, going undefeated in three straight fights against top ten opponents earning himself a November 3rd title shot against double champ Daniel Cormier at Madison Square Garden.
He isn’t the only big hitter looking to keep the ball rolling.
Just one division down is the fearless Anthony Smith, looking to claim his own three fight win streak since moving up to 205lbs. Smith took care of legends Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua in his last two Octagon appearances not only in the first round, but in emphatic fashion.
Since his UFC 225 fight with Evans, Smith has gone from the headliner of the Fight Pass prelims to the headliner of his own event and a top ten ranking to go with it.
We caught up with Smith while he was preparing for UFC Moncton at the UFC Performance Institute to discuss how he is feeling, what he has to do to prove to critics that he is the real deal, his opponent Volkan Oezdemir and more.
"I think the narrative is going to change it’s not about my opponents I think that people eventually they’re going to have to admit that I might just be that good."
UFC: Anthony it’s great to see you at the PI, how are you feeling?
Smith: I feel good, I like being out here at the PI I always try to make it here at least one time before I fight to just get all fixed up and kind of do some maintenance stuff.
UFC: With this being your fourth fight this year, will you be able to keep up this pace?
Smith: Yeah as long as the fights keep going like they’ve been going. I haven’t taken any damage in the last two and I don’t expect to take too much damage in this fight. I think that moving up to 205 has given me the ability to be more mobile. I don’t think I’ve taken a significant strike to the head since I’ve been at 205.
UFC: Is there something a little extra special about knocking out legends like Rashad Evans and Shogun?
Smith: Knocking out Shogun and Rashad I think it puts a stamp on what I’m trying to do here. I think that I’m showing a lot of the guys in the UFC who are struggling with their weight issues that you don’t have to kill yourself and get down so low. If you just focus on getting better and you’re healthy, an you fight at your natural weight I think that we would get a much better product here in the UFC.
UFC: What’s it going to be like for you to prove to critics that you are a true force at light heavyweight and not just a legend killer?
Smith: I’m really excited to be able to prove to everyone else what me and my team already know. The narrative has always been I’m knocking out guys that are past their prime and guys that are a little bit older and no one gives Rashad or Shogun any credit for the things they’re able to do and their own abilities.
And I think that after this fight it’s not going to be so much about how bad they are, it’s going to be maybe I’m really that good. I think that people are going to figure that out pretty soon. I don’t think it has anything to do with who I am fighting because I truly that Shogun would have beat Volkan and I still to this day believe that Shogun would beat Volkan just because their styles. But I think the narrative is going to change it’s not about my opponents I think that people eventually they’re going to have to admit that I might just be that good.
When @UFCNews spoke to @lionheartsmith recently, I asked him what his daughters think of his profession. As good as he is as a fighter, it sounds like he's an even better father. #UFCMoncton pic.twitter.com/20ZFck1BmI
— Steve Latrell UFC (@TheUFSteve) October 23, 2018
UFC: What makes you so good, what makes you so dangerous?
Smith: I think a lot of it is my mindset, I’m never happy with anything. I’m not happy with the Shogun fight because even as short as it was I was able to pick out 20 things that I felt like I did wrong. And I just think I want it more than everyone else does, I’ve been chasing this dream of being the UFC champion since I was 17 years old and I’m 30. If I was the type of person that would give up or shy away from adversity I wouldn’t be where I am now. There has been so many ups and downs and my career has been a rollercoaster. And I just think I want it more than everyone else does.
UFC: In the Octagon what makes you so dangerous for your opponents?
Smith: When I’m in the Octagon I’m 100 percent willing to lose everything, to gain everything. I don’t have anything against Volkan but he’s just not willing to go that far. I’ve seen him quit and I’m seen him shy away from stuff and that’s just not how I am. I think that I’m just as powerful as any of the 205ers, I think that my ground game is underrated, I think that my conditioning is as good as anybody’s and I think that I have a lot of wrinkles in my game that no one has seen before.
I think that’s where people are going to start having problems. I think now that I’m at 205 and I have the physical ability to start showing some of those things off, even though I’ve been around a long time, I have a whole lot of things people have never seen.
UFC: How do you want to take care of business when you go to war with Volkan?
Smith: A perfect scenario for me is actually the opposite of what most people would probably think, I’d imagine most people would think that I want a quick finish and I really don’t. I want to figure out Volkan really is. We’ve all seen it he’s got power, he can surprise people, start fast and knock people out. We get it, we know you’re powerful. I want to see who he really is after the first round, after the second round and I want to see if he has the ability to be dominant over anybody over a long period of time. And to find out if the Volkan we saw against Cormier is who he really is because that’s what I believe, I believe that once he realizes he can’t get someone out of there quickly and he gets a little bit tired I think that is deep down who he really is.
Make sure you tune into UFC Fight Night: Volkan vs Smith live on FS1 starting at 10PM/7PM ETPT to see which light heavyweight walks away victorious.