UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith has gone into detail about the serious health issues he’s been combatting alongside his recovery from injury.
Smith, the #5-ranked 205lber on MMA’s biggest stage, entered 2022 on a three-fight win streak after rebounding from crushing setbacks against Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakić.
Having stopped Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute, and Ryan Spann in first-round victories, “Lionheart” looked to secure a second shot at UFC gold by halting the charge of rising Dagestani Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277 this past July.
Those hopes came to a sudden halt in round two. At the end of the opening frame, Smith appeared to be struggling with a leg injury, and with Smith’s mobilization affected, Ankalaev took advantage, pouncing on the Texan and forcing a TKO stoppage.
In the immediate aftermath, Smith told the commentators Octagon-side that he’d broken his leg. That quick diagnosis was later adjusted, with “Lionheart” going under the knife for surgery on a fractured ankle.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Smith provided an update on his recovery, revealing that his ankle has healed up well.
“”The ankle itself and the leg is healing up nicely so I’ve been off of crutches for about a week now,” Smith said. “So I’ve been on my own two feet for about a week.”
However, while recovery from the problem caused by action inside the cage has gone well, Smith has been fighting a whole lot more…
Smith Has Been Dealing With More Than His Ankle Break
Early last month, Smith returned to the ESPN desk for analysis duty at Paris’ Accor Arena for the UFC’s first-ever visit to France.
But the night before his trip to the European nation’s capital, “Lionheart” battled an allergic reaction that was serious enough for his airways to begin closing up.
“The night before I went to Paris, I had a weird allergic reaction to some meds,” Smith said. “It was pretty hairy there for a little while. It was a really bad anaphylactic reaction. I was losing my airway, I couldn’t swallow. I was having a tough time breathing. Kind of barely got to the hospital in time before things got too rough.”
Fortunately, Smith was able to get the medical help he required, and successfully made it to French soil for an entertaining card in Paris. But unfortunately, Smith’s health scares weren’t over.
Having returned back across the Atlantic, it became clear that Smith was suffering from a blood clot in his leg. In the most serious cases, clots can result in a pulmonary embolism, meaning that a blood vessel in a person’s lungs becomes blocked in what can be a life-threatening occurrence.
“After I got back from Paris, they found a blood clot in my leg. So I’ve been battling this blood clot for a while… When I got back from Paris, I had a lot of pain in my leg but not where the injury was,” Smith explained. “So my wife is a nurse and she’s like, ‘You’ve got a blood clot,’ and I’m like, ‘No, you’re goddamn crazy. Not a chance. I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m active. No way.’ But apparently that has nothing to do with it.
“So they go in and they find it, and they’re like, ‘You’re good to go home.’ I remember thinking that was weird the way they said that like, ‘You’re good to go home.’ As if some reason, I wouldn’t have been.”
Luckily for Smith, the situation remained under control — but it threatened not to when he perceived the decision to allow him to go home as an all-clear message.
“So I go home and I jump in my vehicle and it’s already hooked up to my trailer and I just dip. I went to Wyoming. Went and rode my Razors up in the mountains and probably a quarter of the way there the doctor calls me, ‘We need to get you back in the hospital, we’re going to do this, this and this.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not even close, what are you talking about?’
“They’re like, ‘Where are you?’ I tell them I’m on my way to Wyoming and they flipped out. They only let me leave because they thought I was going home, not leaving the state.”
While he’d initially been hoping to return to the Octagon in January 2023, Smith’s latest health problems have meant that he’s had more to recover from than just the operated-on ankle. With that in mind, he’s expecting his comeback to come later in the year.
When he does make the walk again, Smith will look to throw his name into a stacked upper echelon at 205 pounds, which includes a new champion in Jiří Procházka and top contenders like Ankalaev, Rakić, and Jan Blachowicz.
What do you make of Anthony Smith’s health scares?
All quotes h/t MMA Fighting