Anthony Smith explains why taking the LHW title from Alex Pereira would "validate" his UFC journey

Anthony Smith (left); Alex Pereira (right)
Anthony Smith (left); Alex Pereira (right)

Anthony Smith is set to make his return to the octagon when he faces Khalil Rountree Jr. at UFC Fight Night 233 this weekend. 'Lionheart' recently revealed that he is hoping a win will get him another opportunity to contend for the UFC light heavyweight title, adding that his career would be validated if he is able to dethrone Alex Pereira.

Speaking at media day ahead of his upcoming bout, the No.8-ranked light heavyweight stated:

"I think that since Jon [Jones] left, the title has been kind of playing hot potato a little bit. And really, all I've ever wanted is my journey to be recognized. I think taking it off of Alex would validate me. I don't think anybody could really say anything about that. I think that people would have to respect that. I think it's a tall task. I think he's a really tough fight and that means something as well."

He added:

"I just think I need to not give them any other option. I know champions always want to feel like they make all the decisions, but if there is no clear contender and I go in there and I look really good and put myself in a position where people start asking for it, then that's the fight."

Check out Anthony Smith's comments on Alex Pereira below:

Smith and Pereira briefly exchanged words earlier this year. However, nothing came to fruition between the two. It is unclear if the UFC would be open to a potential title bout, as there is no clear contender at the moment.

Anthony Smith on whether Jon Jones should be stripped

There has been a push, most notably from Daniel Cormier and interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall, for Jon Jones to be stripped of the heavyweight title as he recovers from injury. Anthony Smith, who challenged 'Bones' for the light heavyweight title at UFC 235 in 2019, has fired back at the notion.

At media day ahead of UFC Fight Night 233, 'Lionheart' stated:

"Jon Jones can do whatever the f**k he wants. Really. He's earned that. He's never been known as a guy that pulls out of fights. For whatever anybody says about him, he's never strayed from a challenge. He's always taken on the next best guy. And I think in terms of him and Stipe, I think both those guys should be able to do whatever they want. I think they've earned it. I think that they deserve it."

Check out Anthony Smith's comments on Jon Jones being stripped below:

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Edited by C. Naik