Anthony Smith isn’t too concerned about Alex Pereira entering his division.
After losing his quickly-earned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya earlier this month (April 8, 2023), Pereira announced his move to 205 pounds. Having made the move himself, Smith knows the difference between competitors in each weight class.
Pereira’s striking is always a known factor as it led him to the title. It’s the stronger grapplers that are cause for concern from Smith’s point of view.
“It is what it is — it’s just another dude,” Smith told LowKick MMA. “I think he’s gonna have problems at 205. He’s a monster Light Heavyweight. Like, put that dude next to Aleksandar Rakic and that dude will make him look tiny. He’s just a regular-sized 205er in the Top 7 or 8. Obviously, I’m a little bit on the smaller side compared to some of those guys. Jan Blachowicz is big, Jiri Prochazka is big, Jamahal Hill is big, Magomed Ankalaev is big, Aleksandar Rakic is absolutely huge. His size was a huge advantage at 185.
“I think he’s great, I think he’s a fantastic striker,” he continued. “There’s more grapplers and guys that are — I guess I can’t really say that, there are a lot of grapplers at 185, too. Just none that he ran into. Ankalaev would get a takedown on him, it’s just if Pereira can get up. I would rather see him with Rakic.”
Pereira doesn’t have his promotional debut at Light Heavyweight booked just yet, but he’s already teased that something is in the works.
Meanwhile, Smith is set to go toe-to-toe with Johnny Walker at UFC Charlotte on May 13, looking to rebound off a tough second-round technical knockout loss to Ankalaev in July 2022.