Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith took on another loss on Saturday night when he faced Johnny Walker in Charlotte. “Lionheart” was defeated via unanimous decision and is now on a two-fight skid.
During a post-fight conversation with Hall of famer and ex-champion Michael Bisping, Smith talked about what he feels is the biggest flaw in his game, while addressing retirement rumors.
Anthony Smith addresses retirement talks
The 34-year-old veteran first addressed rumors about his supposed retirement after the loss to Walker. As he told co-host Bisping on the Believe You Me podcast, it was the most criticisms he’d received.
“It’s probably the most hate that I’ve got, probably ever. It’s the ‘you need to retire, you’re trash, you suck, you don’t belong.’ Whatever. First of all, I’m not retiring. It’s not happening. Not like that, that’s for sure. I’m not going out like that,” he said.
“I still have it. There’s some problems that I’ve got to fix, for sure, but it’s definitely not gonna happen like that. It’s not gonna be on a whim.”
Smith was seen with his gloves off after the fight, which was what may have prompted the rumors. But for this, he also has an explanation.
“It’s not the first time I’ve taken my gloves off in the cage before. It’s very documented, I’ve had lots of hand injuries. The gloves and the hand wraps bother me. They cramp my hands. They’re tight. They hold them open. They bother my hands.”
Anthony Smith’s biggest career ‘liability’
Anthony Smith then turned his attention to his performance against Walker and was made to look into what he feels are things he needs to work on. He did mention one major “liability.”
“There is a glaring hole in my game. And it’s no longer a hole. It’s the leg kicks. It’s become a liability, at this point. It’s not even a hole in my game anymore. It’s a liability.
“I’d love to see the numbers and see how many leg kicks I’ve absorbed in my UFC career. It’s got to be in the thousands.”
Anthony Smith has more than 50 professional fights under his belt. And at this point in his career, he feels there isn’t much he can do in terms of making changes.
“At this point, checking them isn’t even good enough. ‘Cause I checked a good number of those kicks. And it’s got to a point where checking didn’t even matter. It hurts worse to check it than take it.
“I think over time, I’ve taken so many that my leg isn’t just taking them as well as it used to. We’ve addressed it over and over. We’ve changed my stance, we’ve changed my movement, we’ve changed the block, we’ve changed the defense. I do it in practice. And for whatever reason, we get into the fights and I can’t do it. I don’t know why.”
For Anthony Smith, taking leg kicks has been problematic, even in the fights he won. He also gave props to his opponent for implementing an effective gameplan.
“Andrew Sanchez destroyed my leg with leg kicks. Jon Jones destroyed my leg with leg kicks. Volkan Oezdemir destroyed my leg with leg kicks. Hector Lombard. Even Alexander Gustsafsson, a little bit. Aleksandar Rakic put me down with two. It’s a liability. I can’t take them.
“Johnny Walker had an incredible gameplan. Stay on the outside, stay really composed, don’t engage in the boxing, and pick at his leg until he can’t move. And once you take away my movement, I’m just a sitting duck.”
With the loss on Saturday, Anthony Smith dropped to a record of 36-18. As for Walker (21-7), UFC president Dana White was left unimpressed, accusing the Brazilian of trying to “fight safe and get the win.”
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