Though Anthony Smith left UFC Stockholm as a victor, he was far from unscathed.
Instead, Smith broke his hand in the 2nd round but that didn't deter the Light Heavyweight contender, pushing through the pain and submitting Alexander Gustafsson in the 4th round. Back in the win column, Smith now has to deal with the injury, updating fans on ESPN's 'Ariel Helwani's MMA Show.' “It’s not good. It’s swollen like a softball . . . it’s probably the worst broken hand I’ve ever had so I guess we’ll see when we get there and see what the X-Rays look like."
That statement really carries some weight too, with Smith saying that this is his "6th or 7th" broken hand. Nonetheless, he was indeed on his way to a doctor's appointment and updated Helwani after his X-Ray had been taken:
This is an X-Ray of Anthony Smith’s broken left hand. Just took it and sent it to me. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. He believes he broke it in the second round. pic.twitter.com/F63Qa7qoFV— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 3, 2019
With surgery now scheduled, Smith will be forced to execute his initial plan, taking some time off after the quick turnaround against Gustafsson. Though hurt by his performance against Jon Jones, Smith rejected the notion of doubts heading into this past weekend's main event bout. "No not at all, I felt really, really good. Training camp went well, I had some bumps and bruises that I had to deal with through the training camp but it wasn’t anything that I’m not used to dealing with.
"I kinda have some chronic injuries that I’ve kinda put off to the side and I haven’t let myself have any time to get those things taken care of. But maybe this broken hand is a blessing in disguise. No matter what I want or what the UFC wants or whatever, I don’t have a choice. I have to take a break and get this fixed so I might as well get the other stuff fixed as well.”
Regardless of what's next, Smith is rightly proud of his performance opposite Gustafsson. Not only due to his opponent's quality either but also due to how little his injury impacted proceedings. “I think I said initially that it happened in the 1st round but once I watched it back, it was actually the 2nd round. It was a big kind of step through overhand left and it must’ve hit him on the top of the forehead," he recalled.
“I still threw it just so that he didn’t know that it was injured. I didn’t want him to think that he could just wade in with only having one weapon up top to deal with. I actually landed a couple really nice body shots with it afterwards that were extremely, extremely painful. But I wasn’t able to get the check hooks like I wanted to and really get my jab going so I just had to kinda feint it. I wish I could make an excuse and say that it changed the whole game but it really didn’t. I just kept throwing it.”
Thankfully, Smith doesn't need any excuses, leaving UFC Stockholm as an undeniably impressive winner.
For Helwani's full interview with Smith, click here.