Ben Smith Looking to Get His Belt Back at Friday’s RFA 34

January 14, 2016

It was both a good and bad year for RFA welterweight Ben Smith in 2015.

While he achieved great career success with a title win, his high was short lived. Thankfully he was able to rebound in his most recent bout to close out the year strong.

“It was an interesting year,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “My son just turned a year old, so I’ve been learning to be a new father. As far as MMA is concerned, I got the (RFA welterweight) title, lost the title, and then got back on track with a win over an undefeated a guy, which is nice.

“So overall it was a love/hate relationship in 2015, and am looking forward to a better year (in 2016).”

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Following his title loss to Gilbert Smith in June, Smith decided to go back to his roots and rebounded with a win over Craig Eckleberg November.

“It wasn’t necessarily a changing things up kind of thing, but I just kind of went back to basics,” said Smith. “I used my wrestling in that (Eckleberg) fight to great extent. That has always been my most impressive tool.”

Smith (15-3) will look to regain his RFA welterweight title when he faces Bojan Velickovic (12-3) for the vacant championship on Friday in Broomfield, Colo., in the evening’s main event.

“Bojan is a very respectable fighter,” said Smith. “I need to stay busy with him. He seems to be able to keep a good, solid, base. I think I just need to maintain serious focus when I’m in the cage.

“He has an exceptional stand-up game and is very composed with it. He’s come a long ways. I think there’s been a lot of good, solid, development in his grappling game. I just need to make sure I maintain focus in the fight and put the best Ben Smith out there to beat him.”

While Smith will be happy to have his title back, for him the main focus of 2016 is getting a chance to take his career to the next stage.

“Moving forward is the thing to me,” said Smith. “I appreciate the title and it’s always fun to get a belt and have people call you champion, but I’m interested in a more fruitful experience in moving forward.

“I’ve enjoyed my time fighting for the RFA. I think they are an amazing organization and I’m proud to be a part of them, but I’m really ready to graduate and move onto the next promotion.”

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