“My training camps hadn’t been that great my last couple fights,” said Smith. “I focused more on my weight cut to 170 pounds than I was on my training. I wanted to get more focused into technique instead of just training to get in shape for fights.”
Smith lost both his bouts at welterweight, so for his next fight he will be returning to 185 pounds with an emphasis on also returning to what made him most dangerous as a fighter.
“I really want to get back to my roots in Muay Thai,” said Smith. “Wrestling and my ground are always something I work on, but if you look at my last five or six fights, I’ve gotten away from throwing my kicks and elbows which early on were successful for me.
“I haven’t had much success counter-punching, so I need to go in there with a game plan of what I’m going to do and not just seeing what (my opponent is) doing.”
Smith will get an opportunity to try out his newfound strategy when he steps back in to the cage for the first time in nearly eight months against Lumumba Sayers on Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey on Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio.
“He hasn’t been out of the first round, win or lose, and I don’t have a ton of success in the first round, so it makes for an exciting fight,” said Smith.
“This is a fight where later on he’ll be in territory he hasn’t been before that could be successful for me. I think he’ll coming out swinging early, and once you weather that storm, you can pick him apart. If he tries to take it to the ground, he’s going to have to do it from the outside, because I’ve been working on my Muay Thai and clinch a lot.”
While Smith might like to look forward to the overall year upcoming, he told MMAWeekly.com that he’s only focused on March 3 because he knows what’s at stake.
“I know this fight is obviously a must-win for me,” he said. “If I win this fight, then I can make out a two or three fight game plan. But right now, pretty much this is it. I’ve got to go out there and win this fight.
“(Being in this situation) does mess with emotions: it’s scary in one sense, but it kind of pumps you up on another sense, like this guy’s not going to end my career for me.”
Regardless of outcome, Smith is thankful for his fans and intends to put his best foot forward for them in Columbus.
“I’m glad they’ve been sticking by me,” he said. “I’ve had a tough run of fights, so I hope I can come back there and put on the kind of show that they like see.”