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A Nebraska home invasion predictably ended in violence Sunday after that home turned out to be owned by UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith, who fought the suspect to protect his family in the house.
However, the ensuing fight was apparently much more competitive than you would guess.
Anthony Smith recounts scary and surreal home invasion
Smith, the UFC’s No. 3 ranked light heavyweight, recounted the terrifying night in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, saying that his wife woke him up just after 4 a.m. CT. He could hear a man in the house “screaming at the top of his lungs,” then found the man — later reportedly identified as one Luke Haberman — in the family’s computer room.
Meanwhile, his wife gathered their three daughters in a bedroom and closed the door.
A fight soon ensued. Smith, who lost to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last March, called it “one of the toughest fights” he ever had.
Smith fights at 205 pounds. Somehow, he said, this man who weighed around 170 pounds was still coming at him, an elite UFC fighter, for minutes.
"No normal human is able to fight like that," Smith said. "I'm by no means the baddest dude on the planet. But he's a regular Joe and I had a hard time dealing with him. And he took everything that I gave him -- every punch, every knee, every elbow. He took every single one of them and kept fighting me."
At one point, Smith said, his mother-in-law brought him a kitchen knife, which he held to Haberman, who continued to fight him, Smith said.
Per Smith, the fight ended up lasting more than five minutes, with police eventually subduing and arresting Haberman. Smith and his family were uninjured, though blood was all over the computer room and Haberman had cuts and swelling on his face.
Curiously, Haberman — who was later charged with first-degree criminal trespass — reportedly did not appear to steal anything. Smith didn’t know why Haberman was in the house, and the suspect reportedly said “Hey man, I’m sorry,” as he was walked out of the house.
Between Haberman’s vigor, behavior, lack of clear motive and apology, it might be a good guess that drugs were involved.
Smith reported that neighbors had video of Haberman trying to enter their homes. He apparently got into Smith’s house through an open garage door.
"I didn't know what he had," Smith said. "Typically people don't break into your house in the middle of the night for any good reasons. I'm expecting that I'm gonna hear a gunshot or he's gonna stab me. Like he's got something. I figure I've got about two minutes before whatever he's got takes me out."
So the experience didn’t quite end like the attempted mugging of strawweight Polyana Viana or the restaurant fight involving Hall of Famer Matt Serra.
Smith most recently defeated Alexander Gustafsson via rear-naked choke submission, and missed out on the light heavyweight belt against Jones via unanimous decision. This fight ended up being more important.
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