Rising UFC light heavyweight Johnny Walker knows he has a big test in his next outing, tonight at UFC on ABC 4. Paired up against a seasoned veteran of the division in Anthony Smith, the Brazilian hopes to capitalize on the booking and exit the Octagon with a victory against a former title challenger who has shared the cage with some of the biggest names of his generation.
Though he didn’t come close to getting the win, Smith has even taken on the most accomplished UFC light heavyweight of all time, former champion Jon Jones. A fact that Walker will be taking into consideration ahead of their co-main event bout next Saturday.
The pros & cons of Anthony Smith’s experience
In an interview with Ag Fight, Walker shared a couple of points of view regarding Smith’s long track record of facing high level opponents. On one hand, Walker knows he needs to be extra careful given the experience Smith has in the cage. On the other, the Brazilian sees an opponent who has been through so many wars in his career that he may not be as resilient as he once was.
“He’s a high level guy. He has fought Jon Jones and all the other big names in the division. Really tough guys. That’s good and bad. It’s good because it gives you a lot of experience if you win without getting hurt too much. It’s bad because of all the damage your body goes through. Since he didn’t win all those fights and he has been through many battles, his body is a bit worn out. We’re human beings. If you go through many battles, you end up burning a some of your health. He’s an experience guy, but his body is a bit damaged.”
Johnny Walker wants to retire early
Smith’s potential weariness isn’t necessarily a factor Walker is taking into consideration as a major advantage to exploit in their fight, however. Looking at the long list of battles and all the injuries ‘Lionheart’ has gone through also apparently has Walker thinking about his own career. To hear him tell it, the 31-year-old doesn’t intend to have a long MMA career and hopes to make enough money to retire comfortably and not have to take any more fights in order to pay the bills once he hangs up the gloves.
“From now on, it’s only wins, God willing. Then I’ll retire as soon as possible after I win the belt and make a name for myself, earn some money and do whatever I have to do. I’ll invest my money properly so I don’t have to keep coming back after retiring to make more money. Fighting is a really risky sport. MMA is too brutal for your health.”
Walker hunts 3rd straight win
Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Johnny Walker (20-7) will look to make it three for three when he faces Smith this Saturday—having already finished both Paul Craig and Ion Cutelaba in his most recent outings. Before those victories, Walker was firmly in the worst slump of his career, with four losses in his last five outings. That included defeats to Jamahal Hill, Thiago Santos, Nikita Krylov and Corey Anderson.
Meanwhile, Anthony Smith (36-17) is trying to bounce back from a TKO loss to contender Magomed Ankalaev, in July 2022. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for the 34-year-old, with victories over Ryan Spann, Jimmy Crute and Devin Clark, all by way of knockout or submission.
Walker is expected to take on Anthony Smith in UFC on ABC 4’s co-main event, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The May 13 card is scheduled to be headlined by a heavyweight bout between rising prospect Jailton Almeida and contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
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