Anthony Smith plans to capture light heavyweight title from Alex Pereira on ‘GOAT’ Jon Jones’ absence

With Jon Jones no longer in the light heavyweight division, Anthony Smith once again aspires to face off with Alex Pereira to capture the UFC gold.


Anthony Smith plans to capture light heavyweight title from Alex Pereira on ‘GOAT’ Jon Jones’ absence

Anthony Smith targets Aelx Pereira, with Jon Jones out of the picture (Source: IMAGO)

Song Yadong locks horns with Chris Gutierrez in the headliner of UFC Vegas 83. But all focus lay on the co-main event of Anthony Smith facing off against light heavyweight contender Khalil Rountree. Smith did not rule out a chance to fight two-division champion Alex Pereira in the absence of Jon Jones as the division’s champion.

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Recently, Pereira provided a KO skid to 29-4-1 light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295. thus making him the 9th two-division champion. But with Jones (a former light heavyweight) out of the picture, Smith shifted his focus back. He thought the light heavyweight gold was now better up for grabs. He recently said:

Since Jon left the title's been playing hot potato a little bit. All I've wanted is for my journey to be recognized. I think taking it off Alex would validate me...
Anthony Smith on the light heavyweight title

The fighter last faced off with Jones at UFC 235 in 2019. Jones won by a unanimous decision, scoring 48–44, 48–44, and 48–44 on the cards. Jones later vacated the light heavyweight title amidst legal battles and a move to face Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 for the vacant heavyweight gold.

Smith has gone on banters with Jones as a “beatable” opponent. But he lauds the “G.O.A.T” as being a prominent presence within the division. Without him, “Lionheart” has once again found a new target in Pereira. However, the thought of fighting Pereira will not happen anytime soon. Smith lost devastatingly against Khalil Rountree Jr. at UFC Vegas 83.

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Alex Pereira slams rival Anthony Smith before losing to Khalil Rountree Jr.

Alex Pereira recently won the light heavyweight gold at UFC 295. Correspondingly, Anthony Smith aspires to capture the title if he wins at the upcoming UFC Vegas 83. Smith felt there was no stable champion in the division since Jon Jones’ departure. As such, he wanted to prove his mettle and make a difference.

Alex Pereira taunts Anthony Smith as a washed-up light heavyweight contender
Alex Pereira taunts Anthony Smith as a washed-up light heavyweight contender (Source: Twitter)

Smith operates as a desk analyst for ESPN and also co-hosts the “Believe You Me” podcast with Michael Bisping. Thus, he had remained very critical and vocal about Pereira’s split-decision victory over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291. This was the light heavyweight debut of the “Poatan.” Smith later clarified that his comments were purely platonic. But Pereira had taken notice.

Pereira did not hold back upon hearing what Smith had to say. Likewise, on his YouTube channel, Pereira had similarly critiqued Smith’s victory over Ryan Spann at UFC Fight Night 225. “Lionheart” was infuriated and thus issued a callout to Pereira. It remains to be seen if Pereira will say something else after Smith lost against Khalil Rountree Jr.

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