Anthony Smith’s Weight Mastery Elevates His Performance

Anthony Smith's Weight Mastery Elevates His Performance

Cutting weight hasn’t been an issue for Anthony Smith since 2011 when he missed weight for the first and only time in his MMA career. That’s one of the reasons why he found success in the UFC.

Smith is the UFC’s No. 10 ranked light-heavyweight and is a former light heavyweight title challenger. The 35-year-old began his career as a middleweight fighting for various regional promotions across the United States. In 2011, Smith joined Strikeforce and during his second fight for the promotion, he experienced missing weight for the first time in his career.

Lionheart was scheduled to fight former Unifight World Champion Adlan Amagov at Strikeforce: Britt vs Sayers on 18 November 2011. During the weigh-in, Smith tipped the scales at 188 pounds, missing the middleweight limit of 185 by three pounds. That was the only time in his career where Smith did not make weight for an MMA fight.

Anthony continued to fight at middleweight and even became Cage Fury FC and Victory FC middleweight champions before settling down in the UFC. Lionheart opened his UFC career with a 4-2 record but at UFC 225, he made his light heavyweight debut and defeated former champion Rashad Evans to burst into the limelight. Smith tipped the scales at the allowed upper limit of 206 pounds in the Evans bout.

After Evans, Smith picked up two more impressive wins in 2018. First, he recorded a first-round knockout of another former champion Shogun Rua at UFC Fight Night 134 and then submitted Volkan Oezdemir in the third round of their bout at UFC Fight Night 138. With three big wins that year, Smith earned the right to challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 235 on 2 March 2019.

Both champion and challenger weighed in at 205 pounds. But in the bout, Jones easily defeated Smith via unanimous decision, even if the champ was meted a two-point deduction in the fourth round for an illegal blow. The loss to Jones seemed to be a turning point in Smith’s career as he has not looked the same ever since.

Lionheart is just 5-5 in his ten fights after UFC 235. Save for a stretch from November 2020 to September 2021 where he won three fights in a row with two Performance of the Night bonuses, it has been a struggle for Anthony. Entering UFC 301, he is 1-3 in his last four bouts and is coming off a KO loss to Khalil Rountree.