Anthony Smith really wants to compete at UFC Fight Night 135 on Aug. 25 in front of a home crowd in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it’s starting to show.
According to a recent report by ESPN, Smith, who is coming off a first-round knockout win over former UFC champion Rashad Evans at UFC 225 earlier this month, is willing to step up and fight at heavyweight to secure his position on the UFC Lincoln card.
“Lionheart” has only competed at 185 and 205 pounds throughout his 10-year professional fighting career, but that wouldn’t stop Smith from packing on some muscle and taking his talents to the land if big men.
“You got a heavyweight? I’ll fight him,” said Smith. “I honestly think people don’t believe me when I say I will fight anyone. Name a heavyweight and I’ll call him out on social media right now. That might be my next move, actually. I’ll come in at 220 pounds, no problem.”
While fighters always try to compete close to home or near a city they’ve grown to love, things don’t always work out. But considering UFC hasn’t hosted an event in Nebraska since Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez locked horns in 2012, Smith feels a sense of urgency to get this done before it’s too late.
“When is the UFC going to come to Nebraska again?” Smith asked. “When is the last time they came, 2012? That’s six years. I’m almost 30. Who knows if I’ll be fighting in six years. This may be, legitimately, my last chance to fight in Nebraska in the UFC.”
Having fought at middleweight as recently as February, it’s conceivable that Smith would fight anyone from 185-265 pounds in effort to get on the UFC Lincoln card. Considering that event is roughly two months away and currently only has eight fights scheduled, it’s highly likely that the promotion finds a way to get “Lionheart” want he wants.
“A week ago, I was pretty optimistic, but now it’s coming to crunch time,” Smith said. “There are guys who already don’t want to take it on six weeks’ notice, saying that’s not enough time to prepare. If guys are worried about that now, what’s it going to be like a week from now?”
Only time will tell if Smith’s willingness to move up in weight pays off.
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