Anthony Smith decided to move up to the light heavyweight division following his loss to Thiago Santos in February and the decision has proved to be a good one. In his two fights in the 205-pound weight class, Smith destroyed two former champions: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Rashad Evans.
Cutting weight to compete in a lower weight class on fight night comes with consequences. It changes how a fighter prepares and can hinder his performance under the big lights.
“I’m feeling great. I can’t stress it enough how I wish other guys that are struggling would give it a shot,” Smith said while appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“It’s not just the night of the fight. It’s the ten or eight weeks that I have in camp leading up to that where I’m not draining myself and I’m not miserable. I can just focus an entire training camp on just getting better and never worry about what the (expletive) scales says.”
When competing as a middleweight, Smith’s training camps consisted of improving techniques, but he also had to spend a lot of time making sure he was burning off enough calories to keep his weight down. It led to overtraining and took away from his focus.
“I’m actually able to rest and recover a whole lot more and I’ve noticed that I’m not nearly as sore. Obviously, I’m not nearly as grumpy. I’m more in tune as to what is going on around me as far as practice and training and even in the fight with Shogun, it was weird for me to really focus on what he was doing and really getting him to react and kind of steering the direction of the fight instead of just going in there like I normally did at 185 and just putting my foot on the gas and going because I was already drained. I was exhausted. I just went in and acted like a buzz saw and tried to punch my way through a brick wall and hopefully they fell down,” explained Smith.
TRENDING > Dana White Claims UFC Now Worth More Than $7 Billion Following ESPN Deal
“At 205, I can really focus on being a smarter fighter and I think those are the two things that I’ve really shown in my last two fights is I have the ability now to focus.”
Smith faces No. 2 ranked Volkan Oezdemir in the UFC Fight Night 138 main event on Oct. 27. A win will likely put him in position for a title shot.