(Courtesy of UFC)
Though Anthony Smith is only two bouts into his light heavyweight career, his confidence couldn’t be running any higher.
A former middleweight, Smith’s transition to the 205-pound division has given him a new lease on his career. In his first two bouts at light heavyweight, Smith has scored first-round finishes over two former UFC champions: Rashad Evans and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
On Saturday, he’ll face his most important test yet in No. 2 ranked Volkan Oezdemir. With Smith currently ranked tenth in the division, a victory over Oezdemir, particularly another impressive finish, could easily elevate him to contender status.
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Titleholder Daniel Cormier is expected to be stripped of the belt if and when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson step into the Octagon to headline UFC 232 on Dec. 29, at which point they would be fighting for the vacant strap. Smith wants a shot at the winner of that bout and believes he’ll have earned it if he defeats Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 138 on Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.