A defeated Smith could’ve won the gold via DQ after getting hit with an illegal knee strike late in the fight, but he didn’t want to steal the title.
“I said at the beginning I wanted to win the title. I know as well as anyone I could’ve sat there and taken the DQ win,” Smith said in a post-fight interview (via Nick Baldwin of Bloody Elbow). “But I want to win it, I don’t want to steal it.”
If Jones had lost via DQ, it would’ve been his second professional MMA loss and the second defeat by way of disqualification.
Jones other DQ loss came all the way back at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in December of 2009, with Matt Hamill getting the win on that night. That loss came by illegal elbow strikes, while the near defeat at UFC 235 would’ve come by an illegal knee strike.
Smith, who kept fighting after the illegal blow landed, would’ve earned his first professional MMA win by DQ if the fight had gone down that path.