The challenger is not just battling a champion and the odds at UFC 235, but is also facing the hatred that has been sent his way by the online community.
“When it first happened, it was a little bit shocking when I first started,” Smith said on The MMA Hour. “But honestly, at this point I’ve kinda gotten used to it, and as the fight gets closer and closer, I do see that it’s changing a little bit. I don’t see as many, ‘Jon Jones is going to beat you ass, you p*ssy,’ comments as much anymore. I see a lot of guys hoping. I don’t see a whole lot of believers, but I see a lot of people that really, really hope. Overall, as a broad spectrum, that’s kinda how it’s been and I understand it and I’m looking forward to winning and changing everybody’s minds, that’s for sure.”
Smith is coming in as a huge underdog against Jones, with some betting sites listing him as a -1429 underdog.
One thing Smith believes is throwing some fans off is that he isn’t taking a negative stance against the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
“It’s about the world title,” Smith said. “I feel like I’d be preparing and I’d feel exactly the same way if it was Gustafsson or if it was Cormier or whoever. It’s not about Jon Jones, and I think that’s what’s kinda throwing everybody off, is I’m not attacking Jon Jones. I’m not attacking who he is as a person. I’m not even talking about the things that he’s done wrong, because I don’t care. I really don’t. This is about the gold belt that he has around his waist and that’s it. That’s all I care about.”
UFC 235 takes place on Saturday, March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Jon Jones and Anthony Smith headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.