“It’s not a return,” said Smith. “I never retired. I just fought a year ago and it’s been a matter of getting fights.”
Perhaps the reason why Smith continues to fight at 51 years old after many of his contemporaries have long since retired is the fact that he hasn’t been taking the kind of physical abuse that many fighters have.
While he may have added new skills to his game, his style of fighting hasn’t changed all these years.
“For me the thing is, I don’t need to take a beating to win a fight,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com.
“My fight style is the same: punch, kick, takedown defense and submission defense. If anything has changed, I’ve got more skills in a grappling aspect, but the striking aspect is still pretty much me. If you have good defense, good takedown defense, then the best striker will win.”
At CWC 9, Smith (11-4) will return to heavyweight (after his last fight in 2012 was at light heavyweight) to face CageSport veteran Matt Kovacs (8-11) in a feature bout on the evening’s card.
“He’ll probably come in at 260, 265, and I’ll probably come in at 235, but to me it’s about skillset, it doesn’t matter what you weigh,” said Smith of Kovacs.
“He’s strong for the first round, is very aggressive, and he can catch me; but if he doesn’t catch me in the first round, he won’t by the second or third round for sure.”
While the way he fights may not have changed, Smith feels his approach to fighting has, and thus he enjoys it more now than he might have in the past.
“I’ve already established my name, done all I can do to some degree, so now it’s kind of peaceful,” he said. “It’s just me and that one person. There’s no hype; it’s just me and another individual. It’s more real – more raw you might say – than the actual hype before, during and after. I just enjoy the moment.”
As for what’s next, Smith is hoping to use this fight and any others after to help launch a new career within the MMA industry.
“My focus is more to get into commentating and sports analysis,” he said. “If you’re not in the business, you get forgotten. So my focus is one more year and try to get into that business. If not, then I go back to doing what I do as a regular person.”