As reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Anthony Smith has agreed to fight Jimmy Crute as a replacement fighter after Crute's original opponent Johnny Walker pulled out of the fight due to an injury sustained during training.
Earlier this week, Johnny Walker's team revealed to MMA Fighting that Walker had torn his pectoral muscle while training for his scheduled UFC 260 fight against Jimmy Crute, which had left Crute without an opponent.
A veteran of over 50 fights in his MMA career, 32-year-old Anthony Smith is one of the most active fighters in the UFC and fought for the light heavyweight title against former champion Jon Jones in 2019. Having suffered back-to-back difficult losses to the resurgent Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic in 2020, No. 6 ranked Smith bounced back with a first-round submission win over Devin Clark in November 2020 and has been on the lookout for an opponent since the much-needed win.
Currently ranked No.12 in the official UFC rankings, 24-year-old Jimmy Crute is a hot prospect from Australia, who made his entry to the UFC through Dana White's contender series. Crute made his UFC debut in December 2018 and holds a 4-1 record in the UFC so far. Having defeated fighters like Sam Alvey and Paul Craig, the lone loss of Crute's career came against wrestling powerhouse Misha Cirkunov in his third UFC fight. He is currently riding a two-fight winning streak and last defeated Modestas Bukauskas via knockout at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Zombie in October 2020
Jimmy Crute's wish to fight Anthony Smith has finally come to fruition
Following Anthony Smith's win over Devin Clark in November 2020, Jimmy Crute congratulated Smith and called for a five-round fight between him and Anthony Smith in February 2021 via his Twitter account.
The Anthony Smith fight is a major step up in competition for the Australian and is a high-risk, high-reward fight as a win over Lionheart can land him right at the door of the top-five in the official UFC rankings. But despite his recent struggles, Anthony Smith is a dangerous fighter in every aspect of the game and has proven oddsmakers wrong in the past.