Thursday February 25, 2016— Anthony “Lion heart” Smith made his UFC return on February 21,2016 against Leonardo Guimares. What some fans may not know is just days earlier Anthony was in Dublin training at SBG. Also Just two weeks prior, his TKO of Josh Neer . he received the call from Joe Silva to return to UFC with 6 days notice. This was a call he’s been working hard and campaigning for with his call me Dana hashtag. Something FightBookMMA was happy to jump on board with. So what does it feel like to be back? What’s his plans and how does he call the Conor/Diaz match?
How did you feel going into this fight, with just returning from across the world, fighting 22 days prior, weight cut and short notice?
“I felt good I felt fresh but as weight cut started I realized cutting down two times in one month to 185 wasn’t smart. When I got the call I was at 210. Coming back from Ireland, eating American food I put on about 10-11 lbs. The weight cut was my biggest fight, it always is. But after I made weight I was able to rehydrate and stepping into the cage I felt good. My head was right.”
Was Leonardo what you expected?
“He was pretty much what I expected. Going in I knew he was a pretty decorated Jiu Jitsu black belt. We expected him to come in screaming across the cage he didn’t, and I expected him to be harder to control on the ground than he was.”
What did that walk in feel like? Having another UFC shot?
“Oh man, I was grinning ear to ear. Fans screaming, my music, the best feeling in the world. Everything I worked for to get back it was exactly how I pictured it. I feel like I got a lot more respect this time around, it felt like I never left.”
Have you watched the fight? How do you feel with your performance?
“Ugh yes…1st and 2nd round I was more dominant than I remember. I feel like I was always chasing him I never got to land a nice clean solid shot, at least not to me. I felt frustrated in the first. Second round I felt I was being lazy, but really it was just me trying to control him. I’m way better than that . The weight cut really got to me I was fading in the second. And the 3rd was just as ugly as I remember it.”
I felt that there were a couple questionable standups, you Looked busy enough to keep that position.
“I don’t know what the hell that was all about. When I had his back I worked to get that position and any time I got positions he would keep using the cage to cut it off. My coaches were yelling get him away from the cage so I would finally get him away from it and I got stood back up. I was getting mad at myself like “wtf are you doing with your life, you get this fight and you gas?” He rang my bell in the first. I feel like that set the pace for the rest of fight. I mean, I never feel like I’m in danger I’m always comfortable it’s part of my problem I never feel fear so I got lazy with my hands and as wild as he was swinging it was surprisingly accurate. He had crazy power.”
There was a point where he had your back trying to land some shots. You kept your head hidden and moving left to right, to avoid shots but I could see the ref lean in. With how some refs call fights to early I was a little nervous.
“I’ll be the first to talk shit on a ref, but he did a really good job. Couple times he said “Anthony show me something” and I remember saying “IM FINE IM FINE IM JUST STUCK” and he said OK. I really appreciate how he communicated with us.”
(Anthony also mentioned pre fight back stage ref Chip Snider told both fighters that they are pros and he will let them work it out and not step in If he was not needed.)
So how does this win feel?
“I’m obviously very happy with the win coming in 6 days to fight someone as tough as that dude. BUT, that’s not me. I scraped out a decision and that’s not me I talk shit on guys who grind out wins. It pisses me off I had to do it. That’s not my style I was thinking bout my kids and as much as I wanted to stand and bang it out, I needed to get the win. Because it’s about the next win. I think it’s pretty evident at this point I have a conditioning problem. It’s probably not as big as I’m making it. But where I want to be in a year is main event fight night cards. Fighting top 15 dudes. So I’m doing what I need to do. I need to not be at 210-220 lbs and cutting to 185. I need to be able to go 3 and 5 rounds. I’m already making adjustments. Vetting nutritionists and what I’m eating. Next fight I’ll be 110% and people can say holy shit that’s the real Anthony Smith.”
So any news on next UFC fight?
“Joe Silva has been in touch with my manager hoping for May.”
Josh plans on taking his first ever vacation with his fiancé after 6 years together. After the hard work and hustle he has put in it’s a well deserved break. As well as very deserved by his fiancé who holds down the fort on many levels while he trains and travels. He is hoping to fight early May, and enjoy the summer with his family. Something he hasn’t been able to do, since hes been taking fights every couple of months for last 2 years. Then back to business as usual kicking ass and taking names.
My last question was one Anthony wasn’t to excited about. However I had to ask, considering his coach, Mick Doyle’s connection with SBG and Anthony’s recent time spent there.
Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz?
“Man that’s so shitty. I’m a HUGE Diaz fan huge fan I love those guys. But Nate is in for a problem. Conor is for real, it sucks, I love Conor I’ve seen where he comes from how he trains, how he is . Everyone is excited for this and I’m like daaamn this sucks. I love them both. Speed and power Conor has in the gym is insane . I walk around at 220 and he hits as hard as I do and I’m knocking out middle weights left and right. On the ground Nates technical Jiu jitsu might be better. But what a lot of people don’t know is SBG is primarily a Jiu Jitsu school. Conor is the exception there. Conors Jiu Jitsu is good, he just chooses to be a striker.”
It’s always a pleasure to talk to Anthony, stay up to date with his journey by following his Facebook Fan Page.
Also FightBookMMA will be breaking news when his next fight is booked. So stay tuned!