Anthony Smith laments: The more recognizable you get, the more MMA fans ‘sh-t on’ you

A UFC title contender opened up about the challenges he's faced from MMA fans as a marquee name among veterans in the roster.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago
Anthony Smith laments: The more recognizable you get, the more MMA fans ‘sh-t on’ you

Former UFC light heavyweight title contender Anthony Smith recently opened up about his experience with MMA fans. For “Lionheart” being a target of hate and criticisms from both casuals and die-hards is an occupational hazard for fighters as they climb up the ladder. 

But as recent events would dictate, even up-and-comers who have yet to build a name for themselves can be on the receiving end of harsh words from fans.

Anthony Smith opens up about receiving hate from MMA fans 

Like many of his peers, Anthony Smith gets his fair share of hate from fans. But according to him, fighters get more of it once they reach a certain level. 

“The more popular I get, the more I hate it, to be honest with you,” he said in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour

“Maybe popular is the wrong word. The more, maybe recognizable? I don’t know. I don’t even know how to state it. It’s just, everyone outside of this whole circus show makes it really miserable for the people inside of it. 

“Maybe I’m one of the few guys that will be honest about that. The fans used to be the thing that drove you. They’d push you through and they would support you. And once you get to a certain level, then they hate you.”

The 34-year-old Smith has been fighting professionally since 2008. He worked his way up the ranks and even landed himself a title shot against perennial 205-pound champion Jon Jones. 

For him, many of his contemporaries are a bit dishonest when they dedicate their craft to their supposed fans. 

“So they’ll build you up, and when you’re feeling down and things are hard, and you’re trying to grind, you’re chasing this dream that everyone has in their head, the supporters and the fans and the people around you are kind of the ones that help push you to the finish line. 

“And you hear the champions and the biggest superstars in the sport talk about, ‘You know, I do this for the fans.’ They’re full of shit. It sucks. It sucks, because you get shit on way more the higher up you grow in this sport.” 

Anthony Smith still loves the sport in spite of the ‘circus’

Regardless of the downsides of being in the position that he’s in, Smith says he still enjoys his chosen profession. 

“I’m not playing some poor, poor pitiful me thing. I put myself in a great position just in life through all this. But you asked the question — the outside circus show makes it really intolerable at times.

“I love fighting more than I hate the other part of it,” Smith said. “I really do. I love fighting. I love it. I love every second. Like, I was really upset and just disappointed after the [Walker] fight. 

“[But] there was a part of me that, like, really enjoyed it. It didn’t go my way, but like, really enjoyed being in there.”

Anthony Smith’s next plans

Anthony Smith is currently on a two-fight losing streak, his most recent one being a decision loss to Johnny Walker in May. He has yet to book his next bout, and he’s willing to play the waiting game if needed. But he also intends to fight more in 2023. 

“There’s some light heavyweight fights that have to play out in the next few weeks. Next several weeks, I guess. So, [I have to] just kind of wait. You’ve got to wait on some of that stuff to play out and see what the landscape looks like. 

“But I definitely want to be more active. I think that would help me. Just, I don’t know, I do really well when I’m when I’m fighting often and competing often. I think that just works better for me.”

Anthony Smith’s current record stands at 36-18.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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