Looking back on his UFC debut this past May versus Mitch Gagnon, bantamweight Cole Smith doesn’t feel like he has much to complain about.
After three rounds, Smith came out of the bout with Gagnon with a unanimous decision victory, making it his seventh straight win to start off his career.
“Obviously it was a really great experience,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “Mitch was a really tough guy. He was a lot more experienced than I was; he had more UFC fights than I had pro fights at the time. It was good. I went in there confident, comfortable, got the job done and am ready for the next one.”
Smith was able to maintain his composure and not let making his UFC debut overwhelm him, as he points out this was a move he had been anticipating for quite some time.
“It was emotional when I first got signed,” said Smith. “From all the hard work that I put in for the last 10 or 12 years in this sport, so it was nice finally getting that call. But it was also expected.
“I was expecting to be in the UFC. I was expecting to fight the best guys in the world. Just getting that phone call and seeing everything coming to fruition it was pretty emotional. This is where I should be. I should be fighting the best guys in the world. I’m happy.”
On September 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Smith (7-0) will look to remain undefeated when he faces Miles Johns (9-0) in a preliminary card 135-pound bout at UFC on ESPN+ 16.
“I happened to go to the Contender Series and he fought the day I was there,” Smith said of Johns. “I watched him fight live. He had a good tough fight. I thought Miles was a tough guy. When I first saw the fight I thought it was a good fight for me stylistically.
“For me to get done I need to go in there and perform to the best of my abilities. I feel like nobody can beat me, it doesn’t matter who I’m going up against, as long as I’m performing at my own capabilities I feel like I can beat anybody.”
While Smith admits he has some idea of when he’d like to fight again following the September 14 bout, he’s going to let his team handle the particulars as he sets his mind to defeating Johns first.
“My management is fantastic, and I tell them that I want to fight in two months they’re going to try their best to make it happen,” said Smith. “I’ve already been kind of thinking about that. We’ll see how this fight goes.
“One fight at a time, obviously, and focus on the task at hand. But maybe one at the end of December or early January would be pretty good. We’ll just see. Time will tell.”
An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.