Anthony Smith insists he’s not retiring after UFC on ABC 4 loss, points to ‘glaring hole’ he needs to fix
Anthony Smith took off his gloves, but never had any intention to retire after UFC on ABC 4.
Smith, a former light heavyweight title challenger, dropped a unanimous decision to Johnny Walker this past Saturday and proceeded to remove his gloves while still in the cage, which sparked speculation about his future.
Smith (36-18 MMA, 11-8 UFC), 34, explains that he took his gloves off merely because they bothered him and insists he still has fight left in him.
“First of all, I’m not retiring,” Smith said on the “Believe You Me” podcast. “That’s not happening. Not like that, that’s for sure. I’m not going out like that. I still have it. There’s some problems that I’ve got to fix for sure, but it’s definitely not gonna happen like that.
“It’s not gonna be on a whim. It’s not the first time I’ve taken my gloves off in the cage before. It’s very documented I’ve had lots of hand injuries. The gloves and the hand wraps bother me. They cramp my hands, they’re tight, they hold them open. They bother my hands.”
Smith came into the Walker fight after undergoing surgery to repair his ankle, which he injured in a TKO loss to Magomed Ankalaev last July. Leg kicks were an issue for Smith again, who was visibly hampered after Walker chopped away throughout the fight. Smith was honest in his assessment of how things played out and what he needs to address moving forward.
He made no excuses and credited Walker for his effective game plan.
“There is a glaring hole in my game,” Smith said. “It’s the leg kicks. It’s become a liability at this point. It’s not even a hole in my game anymore. It’s a liability. I’d love to see the numbers and see how many leg kicks I’ve absorbed in my UFC career. It’s got to be in the thousands. At this point, checking them isn’t even good enough because I checked a good number of those kicks, and it got to a point where the checking didn’t even matter.
“It hurt worse to check it than to lift it and take it. So I think over time, I’ve taken so many that my leg isn’t taking them as well as it used to. We’ve addressed it over and over. We’ve changed my stance, we’ve changed my movement, we’ve changed the block, we’ve changed the defense, I do it in practice, and for whatever reason, I get in the fight, and I can’t do it in the fight. I don’t know why.”
Video: UFC Fight Night 224 media day live stream
UFC fighters Kyler Phillips, Darrius Flowers suspended six months for ostarine
Three UFC on ABC 4 fighters no longer on roster days after losses in Charlotte
Francis Ngannou: 'I will always have a regret of not fighting Jon Jones'
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 4.