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Anthony Smith details rare ankle injury suffered at UFC 277: ‘It’s just f—king s—t luck’

UFC 277: Ankalaev v Smith Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Anthony Smith suffered a broken ankle in his loss to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277 last month, but it isn’t an injury that is seen too often in combat sports.

Smith, who saw his three-fight win streak snapped by Ankalaev, went down with an apparent injury in the second round. That allowed Ankalaev that chance to pounce on “Lionheart” and finish him with strikes along the cage. It was just the second knockout loss for Smith since moving up to light heavyweight back in 2018.

Ankalaev was delivering some pretty hard leg kicks along the way which led fight fans to believe that’s what caused the injury to Smith’s ankle. While Ankalaev’s attacks certainly didn’t help, Smith believes the injury occurred earlier in the fight.

“I threw this hard overhand and it was just a little short and he came back with a hard leg kick,” Smith told Michael Bisping on the “Believe You Me” podcast. “And my whole leg went numb from the knee down. It was only like 20 seconds, 15 seconds – it came back pretty quick. But I didn’t really think anything of it – just hit a weird nerve, and your leg goes numb. Shortly after that, we got tangled up. You know how it gets with opposite stances – your feet get tangled up sometimes. And I went to step back with my left foot, and it’s like wasn’t anything there. It was weird.

“Right before he kicked me and my leg went numb, I was stepping on his foot. So we were having that lead foot battle and it happened twice. I stepped on his foot and he pulled it out, and then it drug my body forward and my ankle kind of went all funny. And right after that, he banged that inside kick real hard. I know in the media or whatever it’s been reported it was from a kick. It’s 100 percent not. It’s not from a kick. It’s just f*cking sh*t luck.”

Smith has proven to be one of the more durable fighters at 205 pounds over the past few years so it’s odd to see him lose with an injury like this. What makes things even more concerning is that the injury to his ankle is not something that UFC’s chief medical advisor and head doctor, Jeffrey Davidson, has ever seen before. It makes things a little more difficult for “Lionheart” when trying to recovery and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It’s not like a typical combat sports break,” said Smith. “It’s a weird break. Dr. (Jeffrey Davidson) said in 29 years, he’s never seen it in combat sports. Apparently it’s in my ankle, but it’s a continuation of my leg bone.”

Smith will require surgery for his broken ankle and it’s unknown at this time how long the veteran contender will be sidelined. Assuming he heals back up it will be interesting to see if Smith conducts himself differently inside of the Octagon next time out after suffering his recent injury.