Middleweight Anthony “Lionheart” Smith’s exposure to most fans came from his appearances in the Strikeforce Challenger series in 2011. Since then Smith has had his shares of highs and lows, and following three straight losses in 2013, he knew changes were needed.
“You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn it,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “I didn’t realize what I was missing coaching-wise and training-wise. I’d been doing the same thing for so long that I kind of got into this rut and went on that losing streak.”
Smith changed gyms and has since gone on to win three fights in a row in 2014.
“I feel like there’s not a big gap between me and the top fighters in the world and there was something I was missing,” said Smith. “I kind of came into my own and figured out what I was missing and I think my performances showed that.
“I think if you look at my last three fights you can tell that I’m getting better. In the years previous to that, you just kept seeing the same fighter over and over again and I wasn’t doing anything different at all.”
Smith (20-11) will look to keep his winning streak going as he takes on top middleweight prospect Tim Williams (10-1) at CFFC 46 in Chester, Penn., on Saturday night.
“I know he’s a big middleweight, is strong, athletic and tough,” said Smith of Williams. “He held the CFFC belt and there are a lot of good guys that have come out of that show and moved onto the UFC. He’s at where he’s at for a reason.
“I think I’m going to give him a lot of problems. I don’t think he’s ever fought anyone with the intensity I have or the experience I have.”
Having righted himself this past year, Smith is now focused on becoming a titleholder and working his way back to the top level of MMA.
“I want to fight for a world title and I’m going to do what it takes to get there,” he said. “I know I’m good enough to be world champion, but I can’t get that opportunity unless I’m winning fights. My goal is to beat Tim and then after that beat the next guy and keep doing that until they can’t say ‘no’ anymore.”