Jon Jones Thankful That Anthony Smith Continued Competing After Illegal Strike

MMA

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones successfully defended the gold against Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.

Smith was nailed with an illegal knee strike late in the fighter, but continued on instead of accepting a DQ win, which is something that Jones is very thankful to the challenger for doing.

Video: UFC 259 Post-Fight Press Conference Live Stream

“Hat’s off to Anthony Smith for having a ‘Lionheart,'” Jones said at the UFC 235 post-fight press conference (via John Morgan & Matt Erickson of MMA Junkie). “I think the average person would’ve used that as a way out and became a world champion. He was tired, he had been hit with the kitchen sink, and I did an illegal blow. And he decided to allow the fight to continue. And I’m so proud of him for being a real warrior out there and continuing with the fight.”

The challenger did say after the event that the DQ wasn’t accepted because he didn’t want to steal the title from Jones.

Jones also wants to reiterate the fact that the illegal strike wasn’t intentionally thrown.

“The first kick, I definitely aimed for his body, and that’s where it landed,” Jones said. “The illegal knee was totally unintentional. In the moment, I felt his body language rising – I felt his body rising. And I felt like I was getting ready to time a great head shot right after he got off of his palm. To my understanding, on his fingertips, he’s considered standing. His body came up, I threw the (knee), and I guess his palm was still down. Totally unintentional.” 

If Smith hadn’t continued and the fight ended with a DQ result, it would’ve made him the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

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