Combat sports fans will typically use MMA Math based on previous wins, yet this might be the first time I’ve heard it used in previous losses. Top light heavyweight contender, Anthony Smith, didn't fall apart in his defeat to Jon Jones but Alexander Gustafsson did; therefore, Smith beats Gustafsson at UFC Stockholm this weekend on ESPN+.
Gustafsson (18-5) was laid to rest by Jones in the UFC 232 main event, a much different performance than what Smith (31-14) was able to muster up for his “Bones” headliner at UFC 235. Perhaps that had more to do with the light heavyweight champ than it did with “Lionheart,” but Smith believes it’s an indication of how poorly Gustafsson holds up in the big spot.
“I had a (expletive) day at the office and was still able to be in there, and Alex wasn’t,” Smith told MMA Junkie. “Regardless of what he says, I think Alex has a history (where) he can get into some fire and fall apart. And that’s not me. I don’t fall apart in the fire. Even in the Jon fight, I didn’t fall apart. I just didn’t perform. I think he can be broken. I don’t say that as a way of disrespecting him. I have no beef with Alex, but if we’re being honest and taking about Xs and Os, he can be broken.”
Smith, 30, isn’t the first opponent to suggest Gustafsson, 32, can’t perform under the brightest of lights. But we also have to be fair when talking about “The Mauler’s” previous fights. His only losses over the last nine years have come to Jones, Daniel Cormier, and Anthony Johnson, two of the greatest fighters in the history of UFC and a two-time title challenger.
And the towering Swede lost two of those contests by razor-thin decision.
Smith has seen his own share of struggles over the years, evidenced by 14 losses, and he’s yet to face the sort of murderer’s row thrown at Gustafsson. I guess we’ll see how well his scouting report holds up this weekend in enemy territory.