Middleweight veteran Anthony “Lionheart” Smith admits that he didn’t have his best performance in his last fight this past February against Tim Williams at CFFC 46. Still, he was able to get the win and capture the promotion’s 185-pound title.
“Overall, it was one of my poorer performances,” said Smith. “I came out really flat. I’m a notoriously slow starter. It takes me a little while to get going, and Tim’s not like that, so he got in my face right away and threw me off my game a little bit. He was also a lot stronger than I was anticipating, and is one of the strongest guys that I’ve ever faced.
“I’m an opportunist, I pick up on people’s mistakes and take advantage of them. So when he grabbed me and tried to slam me, on the way down he left his arm out there and I was able to get the inverted triangle. I’ll take a win however I get it, but it was one of my least gratifying wins for sure.”
In addition to picking up a title, Smith was able to raise his current winning streak to four, proving that he’s been able to turn a corner in his career after three straight losses in 2013.
“I think that the gym change has been a key in my success, but at the same time, I’m maturing,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “I started my career really young, so I’ve had my bumps and bruises along the way due to immaturity, but I’m coming into my prime now. Just the age thing has been a big difference.
“I still have holes and I’m trying to make them as small as I can, and I’m working every day to close those holes as much as I can between each fight.”
Smith (21-11) will make the first defense of his CFFC title on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., against Williams (10-2) in a rematch from their bout earlier this year.
“I don’t think I’m going to fight (Williams) much different than what I had planned to do in the first fight,” said Smith. “The only difference is this time I’ve just got to do it. I didn’t get my hands going or my jiu-jitsu too much. I didn’t do any of that. I’ve just got to actually go out there and execute it.”
While Smith would be happy to defend his title, he feels the win itself just adds to his recent resume in an effort to get to the next level again and prove his earlier problems are behind him.
“With my winning streak and where I’m at in my career, I don’t think beating Tim twice is going to be much different than beating him once,” said Smith. “I think it’s a timing thing. As long as I keep winning, and depending on circumstances in the UFC, I could go at any time. Everything’s timing.”