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His mood is quite the contrary, according to Spann (19-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who thinks his fight night foe Anthony Smith (35-16 MMA, 12-8 UFC) is misplacing intensity for anger. Entering his first promotional main event, which takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Spann couldn’t be happier.
“I think maybe the tone that came off (in the pre-fight promotional videos),” Spann said at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “It wasn’t the fact that I’m angry when I said what I said. I’m not angry. I’m very, very happy. I have a lot of respect for him. I’m happy. I’m in a good place. I’ve seen where this takes my family. I’ve seen a glimpse of it, like, getting to take my wife on a trip.
“… For the longest year hear, ‘You can do this,’ or ‘You can do that.’ But for the longest when you’re fighting for free hearing that you can be champion of the world, you’re looking down a dark tunnel. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I can see glimpses of the light. Now, it just makes me stronger, makes me freer. I’m happy because I’m actually seeing fruits of my labor now.”
Spann, 30, is 9-1 in his most recent 10 outings. He’s only lost once, a knockout defeat that came in a wild back-and-forth brawl against Johnny Walker in September 2020. Through his ups and downs, Spann has become stronger – and more passionate. Perhaps his passion is mistaken for anger.
“It’s not that I’m angry, man,” Spann said. “I’m fighting for something. I can’t let anyone take it. It doesn’t matter who shows up, who it is. I can’t let anyone take it. It’s not anger. I’m not angry. Now, I feel like I’m in a therapy session. ‘You are angry.’ ‘I am not angry.’ … I don’t know where it came from but it doesn’t matter because it won’t change anything. The result is still going to be the same.”
As for the fight, Spann isn’t concerned with what Smith brings to the table. He doesn’t watch tape or train too specifically for the stylistic matchup during camp. Whatever Smith throws at him, Spann anticipates he’ll be prepared.
“Honestly, I don’t know what he’s going to try to do and I really don’t care because it’s not going to work,” Spann said. “The plan, if it goes according to how I’ve been seeing it, it doesn’t matter what he (does). It won’t work.”
UFC Fight Night 192 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.