Anthony Smith can leapfrog a whole lot of light heavyweights in line for a title shot if he’s able to defeat Volkan Oezdemir later tonight (Sat., Oct. 27, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 138 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Smith, a former middleweight who has jumped around organizations for the most of his career, is experiencing a powerful resurgence since debuting at 205 pounds early this year. “Lionheart” has quickly impressed with two first-round finishes over former UFC champions Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans.
With Oezdemir now in his sights, Smith aims to put a hurting on “No Time” and prove who is truly on the rise at light heavyweight.
“I promise you that I’m going to demolish Volkan,” Smith told reporters earlier this week at UFC Denver’s media day (h/t MMAjunkie). “It’s not even going to be close. I’m telling you: It’s going to be a dominant performance, and what you guys are going to read is that Volkan didn’t even deserve to be at the top, and he just had a quick rise, and no one really knew how good he was, and now we really know that he’s not that good. That’s exactly what you guys are going to read Monday.”
As it stands, Oezdemir’s only UFC loss has come against current light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The hard-hitting Swiss striker is a dangerous opponent for Smith, but one “Lionheart” will ultimately look to expose.
Making Oezdemir pay for the things he has said before the fight would be icing on the cake for Smith.
“Volkan’s a different story because of the things he’s been saying and the way he carries himself,” Smith said. “Just the total disregard and disrespect for me that he has. I haven’t said too much about it, but I plan on reminding him of everything on Saturday for sure.
“(I don’t like) the stupid (expletive). Like, ‘Now it’s time for me to find out what it’s like at the top of the division.’ What the hell does that mean? How did it work out for him the last time he was at the top of the division? It didn’t work out too goddamn good if you ask me. Talking about how I’m not a great striker, and he only wanted to fight me because of the hype right, and I don’t really deserve it. Like, that’s just some arrogant (expletive). I told him a month ago, ‘Be very careful what you say because you don’t want to feel stupid later on when I throw it in your face.’”
Being in such a shallow division provides Smith, along with Oezdemir, the opportunity to jump back into title contention with a few good wins. If Smith is able to stop “No Time” later this evening in Denver then he would have the necessary wins on paper to challenge for a UFC light heavyweight title.
At least that’s what “Lionheart” believes.
“As long as I get to a title shot I don’t care what people say,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter to me. It’s kind of been the narrative my whole career. It’s not about how good I am. It’s always been about how bad my opponents are. That’s the narrative I used to try to change all the time, and now I don’t care. As long as I’m opposite whoever wins the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson fight, I don’t care.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 138 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bout at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.