Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith will have a chance to steal the show later tonight (Sat., Nov. 28, 2020) at UFC Vegas 15 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Smith will be fighting Devin Clark in the main event as the two fighters take over for a botched headliner between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis.
This is a massive opportunity for “Lionheart” to say the least. The 32-year-old veteran now goes from a co-main event spot to his seventh-straight fight atop a UFC marquee. It will give Smith the chance to snap a two-fight losing streak and regain considerable momentum at 205 pounds heading into next year.
Luckily, Smith had already made the proper adjustments in camp before learning he’d be the main event for UFC Vegas 15 this Saturday. As a former title challenger who has now lost three out of his last four trips to the Octagon “Lionheart” needed to make some changes to his training. This included less outside distractions and more dedication.
“I did a lot of things this training camp differently,” Smith said earlier this week. “And maybe the average person, it wouldn’t seem that much different but you guys didn’t see me working the analyst desk this entire training camp. If you’re a listener to my radio show, I only did one hour, once a week on my radio show. I cut way back on my show. I didn’t do any episodes of my podcast with Laura Sanko. I just took a lot of things off my plate and fortunately, I have a lot of people that support me that helped picked up the slack on that and picked up the pieces I’m not doing.”
Smith has not tasted victory since choking out Alexander Gustafsson in June of last year. That win was supposed to put him back on track for another title shot after coming up short against Jon Jones but subsequent losses to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic in 2020 have ruined Smith’s trajectory.
Add that to Smith’s highly-publicized home invasion and you can see how “Lionheart” has been unable to keep his focus outside of the cage.
“I don’t have it in me to say that I can’t do something. Even going into the Glover fight right after the home invasion during the pandemic thing, family’s in shambles, whatever, maybe it would have been the more manly thing to do to just say, ‘Hey listen I’m having some serious issues at home, I can’t do this right now.’ But that means I would actually have to say it out loud that I can’t do it, and I’m not built like that. My brain is just not wired like that.”
With all of that in the past Smith is hoping to show off his improved dedication and focus outside of the cage and prove that he’s still one of the best fighters in the division. It starts with Clark at UFC Vegas 15.
“You get so much going on in your head,” Smith said. “I’m married, I’m a father of three, you’ve got all the duties and the responsibilities that come along with that on top of training camp and again all those other things I had on my plate, analyst stuff, podcast, my radio show. I just needed to manage that and organize it better and I think I did a really good job of that this training camp.”
What say you, fight fans? Can Smith get back on track this weekend at UFC Vegas 15? Will a win over Clark set him straight entering 2020?
Let’s hear it!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 15 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN2 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+/ESPN2 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.