Though he’s only been fighting professionally for a few years, welterweight Gilbert Smith is already a veteran of some of the biggest promotions in American MMA.
In 2014 alone, the former Ultimate Fighter cast member has fought for the MFC, Titan FC, and Legacy FC, and now is set to make his RFA debut on Friday.
Having fought in such promotions, Smith is able to deal with the pressures of being on television and focus on the business of fighting.
“I think every fight, I’m highly motivated for and it’s the most important fight,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “People seeing it is just icing on the cake.
“A lot of my fights have been on TV, so it’s nothing new for me. I don’t stress those things. I know I have to go out there, have a great performance, get a finish, and call it a day – that’s the most important thing to me.”
Looking back on his year so far, Smith feels he’s done well, even in his lone loss, and has put himself in a good position in the welterweight division.
“I’ve gone 2-1 this year, with my only loss coming to Brian Foster (in Titan FC) who is a former UFC fighter,” said Smith. “We went to a decision, which is the only one he’s been to in 30 fights, so that’s a pretty decent accolade I have. All things considered, it’s been a pretty good year for me.
“In my last fight, I beat (Benjamin Brewer) in the first round, and coming off a loss to Foster in which I was pretty lackluster, I think I’ve been performing well.”
On Saturday night in Broomfield, Colo., Smith (9-3) will face fellow newcomer Bojan Velickovic (8-2) at RFA 19 in what could very well be very competitive welterweight showdown.
“The biggest key to beating a guy like Bojan is being able to fight him everywhere,” said Smith. “He’s a well-rounded guy, has good experience, and comes from a decent team, so I have to be smart and articulate with my skillset and go out there and impose my will.
“At the end of the day, it’s a fight, so I’ve got to be ready to scrap – that’s it.”
Smith hopes with his recent success and a win over Velickovic that he’ll be able to once again return to the UFC and this time make a more solid run with the promotion.
“I don’t think particularly a win over (Velickovic) does a lot for me, but a win in general does a lot for me,” said Smith. “It will put me in a place that, since The Ultimate Fighter, I’ve won five out of six fights with finishes in three of them, to get signed to a big promotion… hopefully the biggest.”