Magomed Ankalaev has put the UFC light heavyweight division on notice after outpointing Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 203. However, Anthony Smith doesn't view the Dagestani fighter as a real threat.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting, 'Lionheart' acknowledged Ankalaev's skills but stated that he is not too impressed by the 29-year-old contender. Here's what the UFC veteran said:
"He's not the boogeyman that everyone keeps talking about. I've been saying that for a long time. Is he good? One hundred percent! He's solid, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he doesn't have any glaring holes in his game at all, but he's not the boogeyman that everyone made him out to be. People have been saying, 'Anthony's ducking him.' I'm not ducking that dude, come on. I've got 50 something fights. I'm not ducking anybody. I'm just not singing his praises because I'm not that impressed."
Watch Anthony Smith's full interview with MMA Fighting in the video below:
Magomed Ankalaev earned widespread praise from the MMA community after his performance against Thiago Santos in March. With eight consecutive wins and only one blemish on his record, the 29-year-old light heavyweight could very well be considered one of the most feared men in his division.
Anthony Smith on UFC return
Anthony Smith was originally offered a fight against Magomed Ankalaev at UFC Fight Night 203, which he turned down. 'Lionheart' later revealed to ESPN MMA that he was recovering from a knee surgery at the time and was also down with a staph infection.
You can watch Smith explain his decision to turn down the Ankalaev fight below:
The 33-year-old is in good health now and ready to make his UFC comeback. During the same interview with MMA Fighting, Smith revealed that he is planning to make his UFC return this summer:
"That end of July card, that's kind of what has been talked about."
Smith is currently 36-16 in his professional MMA career. He is riding a three-fight win streak in the UFC, with his most recent victory coming over Ryan Spann last September. All of those wins have come via first-round finishes.