Anthony Smith (28-12) discusses his upcoming fight against Thiago Santos (16-5) at UFC Fight Night 125 on Feb. 3. Anthony also talks about how Santos was his fourth opponent after three middleweights turned him down, his training camp at Factory X and his love of MMA podcasts.
Smith did get some attention for some tweets that were supposedly directed at the UFC, but the fighter says the tweets were about the fighters and not the promotion itself.
“A lot of people took that (what I wrote) on social media wrong, as if I was attacking the UFC and that’s not how I meant it. I meant that all of the fighters in the UFC are…specifically the fighters…I don’t know man, the culture has changed. Me and Chael (Sonnen) talked about this at length. That the culture I came up in was that you just fight who they out in front of you and if your the best in the world, then your gonna beat those guys. If you really believe that your the best in the world, then you should be able to beat whomever they put in front of you. That’s just not how it is, there are guys who are politicking their way through the system. I don’t think that’s the UFC’s fault. I think that problem may have been created a long time ago and now its kind of just spun out of control. Its just the guy who are ducking the hard fights to pick the easiest fights above them. We all know who’s a good match up for us (middleweight division fighters), we know who’s the tough match ups for us, we all know the tough outs. Say I’m ranked ten and the number four guy may be the easier fight than the number seven guy for me. Its all about styles and that’s not how I came up, not how I was coached, how I was raised. You just fight who they put in front of you and I’m just so sick of all these fighters just being the biggest group of pansies man. They’re just cowards, I’ll fight anybody and that’s just how I am and its amazing to me that in a sport so full of tough guys, some of those guys are some of the biggest pussies you’ve ever met,” says Smith in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.
The middleweight has won four of five since returning to the UFC and that includes a win over former Bellator MMA Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard.
Speaking of being in the midst of a second run with the promotion, a confident Smith has noticed some changes from his first run until now.
“Yeah! For sure, I guess I understand why guys do it (turn down fights), they are afraid of getting cut and only getting half their paycheck if they lose. I get it, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if this is the equivalent of the Attitude Era in professional wrestling moving towards the entertainment era. Maybe this is our (MMA fighters) switch and culture and our eras have changed. This isn’t the tough guy era anymore, its not just who’s the baddest man. I find myself sticking to people who are much like myself, I still find myself following the Chael Sonnen’s of the world and the people I surround myself with personally are still from that group of people who still come from that old school. Maybe my who thought process on the game has changed, I don’t know, maybe I’m behind the times,” says Smith.
UFC Fight Night Belem takes place on Saturday, February 3 from the Manguerinho Arena in Belem, Brazil with Lyoto Machida and Eryk Anders headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox Sports 1.