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Calling all ranked athletes at 185, 205: Anthony Smith wants a good fight

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After picking up the biggest win of his career, Anthony Smith is looking to repeat the feat, and he’s taking suitors in two divisions.

“I just think there’s some big options for some exciting matchups at 205 (pounds),” Smith told MMAjunkie. “I think that 205 is getting a little bit dry; 185 is a shark tank. There’s plenty of guys there. I think that there’s some exciting matchups at 205. That said, if (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard gets ahold of my manager and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got this exciting matchup at 185,’ hey, I’m down. I’m in.”

Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) competed at middleweight on Saturday night, where he took on fellow veteran Hector Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) on the FS1-broadcast main card of UFC Fight Night 116 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Smith started slow, dropping the first two rounds to Lombard on all three judges’ cards, but he gathered himself before the third and came out firing, eventually scoring a crisp combination that sent his opponent crashing to the canvas.

The compact, powerful Lombard is notoriously dangerous in the opening frame, and Smith said he knew that was the time to be cautious but believes he may have leaned a little too far in that direction.

“Hector’s so good in the first round,” Smith said. “He’s so dangerous. He’s explosive. He’s powerful. He’s everything you want to be as a fighter. He just can’t hang. It was a tough first round, but at the end of the first round, my conditioning felt good. I wasn’t as tired as I expected to be, and he didn’t hit nearly as hard as I expected him to.

“I think I gave him a whole lot more respect for his power because there was a couple times where he hit me clean, and it didn’t even shake me. I think I overestimated his power, and I overestimated his will.”

Smith admits he underestimated Lombard’s ability to score with low kicks, a wrinkle in his opponent’s attack “Lionheart” wasn’t expected, but he believes he eventually made the proper adjustments.

“I just had to force him to work,” Lombard said. “I wasn’t as busy as I wanted to be. I didn’t combo up and throw as much volume and stuff. I mean, I’m always my worst critic. I’ll take a ‘W,’ but I could have done better.”

Still, Smith now stands at an impressive 11-1 in his past 12 fights, a run that includes three consecutive UFC victories. And with that, Smith said it’s time for the sport’s top fighters, who he’s been calling out for years, give him a chance to prove his worth – and he’s willing to do it at middleweight or light heavyweight.

“I want to keep my options open, but I also want exciting fights,” Smith said. “I want big names, and at this point I think I deserve it.”

To hear more from Smith, check out the video above.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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