UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith has named one upcoming fight that could produce his next opponent inside the Octagon.
A month ago, Smith would’ve been expecting to enter 2023 with an already booked UFC Fight Night headliner opposite Jamahal Hill in his sights. But after the events of UFC 282, which saw the 205-pound gold left vacant owing to an inconclusive conclusion to Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Błachowicz’s pay-per-view main event, “Lionheart” saw his schedule shift.
With some quick matchmaking, the promotion booked Smith’s planned opponent for the first quarter of 2023 against former champion Glover Teixeira for this month’s UFC 283 event in Brazil.
With that, Smith had his opponent removed from their card and thrust into a championship showdown. Interestingly, “Lionheart” will be following “Sweet Dreams” to Rio de Janeiro to serve as the backup fighter for the UFC 283 light heavyweight title tilt.
If all goes to plan, Smith won’t be needed and can look ahead to a longer camp for his first outing of the year. And according to the #6-ranked contender, that’s still set for March.
Smith Targets Victor Of UFC 283 Clash
During a recent episode of Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast, one-time UFC title challenger Smith assessed his immediate future, admitting that “best-case scenario” will be a quiet night in Brazil ahead of a possible title eliminator two months later.
In terms of an opponent, Smith believes he may well have a front-row seat to see that determined.
“I’m in training camp now. Am I fight ready? No… I’ll be there and I’ll be prepared, and I will absolutely jump at the opportunity to fight for the title,” Smith said. “If I don’t, no matter what I’m still fighting in March. Best-case scenario I’m there just in case and I’m not needed.
Walker will be seeking his first win streak since 2019 when he makes the walk in front of his home crowd later this month. Meeting him in Rio will be Craig, who’ll be looking to revive his title ambitions following a disappointing setback against Volkan Oezdemir last July in London.
With the Scottish fighter sat three spots below Smith at #9 on the light heavyweight ladder, a victory for either man could net them a showdown with “Lionheart” soon after.
Who would you like to see Anthony Smith face next?
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