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Anthony Smith felt dominated in his match against Aleksandar Rakic at UFC on ESPN+ 33, and now he's contemplating a career change.
On Saturday night, Smith failed to get any traction as Rakic mostly had his way with the former light heavyweight title challenger, en route to a unanimous decision by scores of 30-26 and 30-27 twice in their three-round main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
After the fight, Smith spoke about Rakic's strength and how he felt beat in every angle.
“I’ve never been one of the guys that’s out here pining and calling for more weight classes, but in these last couple of fights that’s kind of where my brain goes,” Smith said on the UFC on ESPN+ 33 post-fight show. “I’m just too big for 185, and you start getting into these bigger, stronger, taller, longer guys. They’re just so strong. … I think I got some big decisions to make in my career and figure out where we go from here. It’s super frustrating to lose to a guy you feel you can beat.”
Smith fell behind early as leg kick after leg kick from Rakic went unchecked until Smith finally fell to the canvas. And while Smith didn't find himself in serious trouble, he didn't find a way to get ahead, either.
“Well, the first round I kind of stayed in kicking range at the beginning, which was obviously stupid now. He just beat on my lead leg, and then we got into clinch and grappling exchanges, which I felt OK in, but he was just so strong. He’s so big,” Smith said. “… He was so tight on top that I couldn’t make any space. I guess just my biggest takeaway is that he’s just so big and so strong.”
In May, Smith took a similarly one-sided defeat to Glover Teixeira through a five round bout.
Smith fought in the middleweight class until June 2018, when he moved up to light heavyweight. He caught everyone's attention by immediately winning three fights in a row – against former champions Rashad Evans and “Shogun” Rua, as well as Volkan Oezdemir – to earn a shot at Jon Jones’ title. Smith, however, fell just short in a lackluster performance against Jones.
Although Smith, 32, recorded a June 2019 win over Alexander Gustafsson, these last two fights against Teixeira and Rakic have been rough. Having no luck cutting to middleweight, Smith finds himself in a tough spot.
“I don’t know. (One hundred and eighty-five pounds) is still really tough,” Smith said. “It’s a total lifestyle change, and that’s year-round. It’s not like one of those things where I can get into camp and change my diet and cut down. It’s a complete lifestyle change. I guess that’s one of the options. I guess the other option is to take some time off and get bigger. I don’t know. I’ve got some things to decide on.”
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