Anthony Smith is already ranked No. 4 in the light heavyweight division, thanks to his submission win over Alexander Gustafsson last June, and a victory over Glover Teixeira in the upcoming UFC Jacksonville main event could leave him with his pick of the 205-pound litter.
So how about that Jon Jones rematch?
“The Thiago Santos fight is the one I really want,” Smith told MMA Fighting. “But those circumstances have to be right. I think Thiago, myself and our management all agree on that scenario. It’s been talked internally between the four of us. Those circumstances have to be right.”
Smith dropped a five-round decision to Jones at UFC 235 and would need to wait for Jan Blachowicz, or perhaps event Dominick Reyes, to finish their business with “Bones” before getting another crack at the light heavyweight champion.
That’s why “Lionheart” would rather avenge his loss to Thiago Santos who like Smith, moved up from middleweight to throw hands at 205 pounds. Their first clash at UFC Belem returned a “Fight of the Night” bonus for both combatants (and a technical knockout loss for Smith).
“It was fucking chaos,” Smith said. “That’s a fight that both of us agree has to happen again. The problem is the way Thiago and I fight, I don’t want to sound super morbid or whatever, but here’s the reality of the situation: When Thiago Santos and I walk into a cage again and we get locked in another Octagon, neither one of us are going to leave there whole. He knows that and I know that. We’re not going to be the same person as we were when we walked in.”
Santos, like Reyes after him, took Jones to the scorecards and narrowly lost a decision, but has not been able to compete in the months that followed as a result of injuries sustained against “Bones.”
Smith vs. Santos 2 ... who wants it?