Anthony Smith has had a few bad weight cuts in his career, but the worst ones happened when he was fighting at middleweight.
Smith was reminded of them after he weighed in at 206 pounds for his fight against Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277 this past July. He has fought at light heavyweight for over three years now, but this cut was a ‘tough one’ after he miscalculated how much he needed to shed before stepping on the scales. Smith still had a ways to go between Thursday night and Friday morning, which he was used to doing when he fought at middleweight. In fact, it was that routine and the subsequent effects of previous cuts that led him to the change in weight class.
‘Lionheart’ told Ariel Helwani during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour that his cut for Ankalaev was at a six on a scale from 1-10, but that paled in comparison to the cuts he had to middleweight.
“There were several times when I was cutting to ’85 that I wasn’t sure if I was going to live,” said Smith. “Yeah, it was bad. I used to have to kneel in the back behind the curtain for a long time. And then I’d have to hurry up and stand — like if they had the little weird [mechanical] scale, they would have to put it exactly where it said that I was on the check scale because if I had to stand there any longer and let them f—k around with it for too long, I’d pass out.
“So they would say, ‘What does he think he’s at?’ and then I’d tell them, ‘I’m right on it — 186 on the dot,’” continued Smith. “I’d have to kneel with my head up and as soon as I stood, my coaches would get me up, I’d stand on the scale and that’s why I was rushed to the back. Because I wasn’t going to be conscious for much longer. I couldn’t even walk from my hotel to the scale. If it was a five-minute walk, it would take me 15 minutes because every five steps or so, I’d have to kneel because I was trying to stay conscious.”
Since moving from 185 pounds to 205 pounds, Smith has found great success in the division. The No. 5 light heavyweight announced his arrival with three consecutive finishes of former UFC champions and challengers in Rashad Evans, Maurício Rua and Volkan Oezdemir before earning his first championship opportunity against ex-champion Jon Jones. He lost via unanimous decision but has remained a staple and perennial contender.
The Factory X product seemed poised for another run at gold with finishes of Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute and Ryan Spann, but that was halted after he suffered a second-round TKO loss to the aforementioned Ankalaev. Smith also suffered a leg injury, which he has undergone surgery to repair recently.
There is no word yet on when Smith expects to return to the Octagon.
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