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Anthony Smith fires back at Alex Pereira: ‘If you want a f—king rival, you got one right here’

UFC Fight Night Official Weigh-in Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anthony Smith isn’t sure where Alex Pereira’s recent comments are coming from.

After Smith’s most recent victory over Ryan Spann via split decision at UFC Singapore this past weekend (Aug. 26, 2023), he was met with some unexpected flak from his fellow top Light Heavyweight contender, Pereira. UFC’s former Middleweight champion called out Smith for his “bitter” comments as a “washed-up” fighter, attempting to feed off the success of others. He also wasn’t too entertained by the fight, saying it should have been a draw.

The 35-year-old “Lionheart” was caught off guard and confused by the remarks, prompting a passionate response.

“So I’ll be honest, I texted [Pereira’s coach] Glover [Teixeira] yesterday and said, ‘What in the f—k is this?’” Smith said on SiriusXM’s MMA Today (h/t MMA Fighting). “Because I’m trying to figure out which direction I’m supposed to go here. Like, did he take something out of context? Like, is he reading headlines? Or did he actually listen to what I said? Because what I said was, essentially, is he’s the same size as everyone else. You think if I said Islam [Makhachev] is the same size as every other Lightweight, he’s going to come at me all pissed off about it? No. All my whole point was is that he moved up to 205, so he’s not going to enjoy the same size advantage that he did at 185. That’s it. I don’t think that — is that crazy? Am I wrong?

“Because the whole question was, ‘You’re a guy that moved up from 185 to 205, what are some of the things that you experienced that Alex may be experiencing, and what’d you see [as] the differences?’” he continued. “I said, ‘The difference is he’s not the largest guy in that division. That he went from being the largest middleweight on planet Earth, to a normal size 205er.’

“And then I went on to say, what makes him special is how — I used the word special, that he’s a special talent when it comes to being a striker and that the division is more interesting with him in it,” Smith concluded.

A one-time title challenger at Light Heavyweight, Smith (37-18) got back in the win column after a two-fight losing skid with his second-career victory over Spann. Pereira made his UFC 205-pound debut at UFC 291 against another former champion, Jan Blachowicz, this past month (July 29, 2023), walking away the victor by split decision.

“Poatan’s” win launched him to No. 3 in the rankings and has seemingly secured a possible shot at the division’s title in his next time out. However, the No. 8-ranked Smith is now happier than ever to battle it out with the Brazilian if presented with the opportunity.

“I said a bunch of nice s—t about you and you’re going to talk s—t? I don’t think so,” Smith said. “That’s not how this works. Then we’re just going to shake hands when we see each other because you’re doing this media thing, because you’re looking for a rival? If you want a f—king rival, you got one right here. I didn’t do s—t to you.

“I’ve been nothing but complimentary of him and his whole team,” he concluded. “I like his coaches. I love Glover to death and a lot of his training partners. Like, I don’t know what I did to that guy.”

For complete UFC Singapore results, coverage and highlights click HERE.

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