Anthony Smith doesn’t think Magomed Ankalaev is the boogeyman many people have made him out to be.
Smith is set to face Ankalaev in the pay-per-view opener as the two light heavyweights kick off the main card. The winner of this fight could get the next title shot and, for Ankalaev, this will be the toughest test of his career.
Heading into the fight, Ankalaev is a massive -500 favorite. Smith says he is used to being underestimated, but he doesn’t think the Russian is as scary as people think.
Anthony Smith Isn’t Scared of Magomed Ankalaev
“I’m getting used to just kind of being counted out,” Smith told MMA Junkie Radio. “This is no disrespect for Ankalaev. I’ve got a lot of respect for his game. I really do. He’s good, man. He’s very, very good. But he’s not the boogeyman that everyone is making him out to be. He’s not that guy. If I don’t go in there and do what I’m supposed to do and cross my ‘T’s and dot my ‘I’s, it’s going to be a long night for me. But he’s not, at least in my opinion, he’s not the boogeyman that everyone’s making him out to be.”
Smith says the plan is to make Ankalaev uncomfortable in there and not let him get going.
"He kicked his chin into orbit!" 🌎
[ @AnkalaevM | #UFC277 | Saturday | Live on ESPN+ PPV: https://t.co/U0PbshOSlW ] pic.twitter.com/pdNSJiMPsW
— UFC (@ufc) July 25, 2022
Anthony Smith’s Plan to Beat Magomed Ankalaev
If Smith can frustrate Ankalaev from the get-go, he believes he will have success, ultimately leading to him getting his hand raised.
“He’s a normal guy,” Smith said. “He’s very simple in his game and his approach. There’s no tricky sh*t going on there. He’s never out of position. He likes to fight inside of his box. He likes to walk people down. He’s got a really heavy and active lead side. He’s got a nice high kick from the rear side. He wants to funnel you to the two. It’s the same sh*t that a lot of people do. His approach, and he’s very smart, he doesn’t leave a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. But that’s my job.”
“That’s my job is to go in there and make people look bad. And that’s what I’ve been doing for a very long time. I’ve made the best guys in the world look bad, even if they win,” Smith concluded. “So, I’ve got beat him in the gray areas. I’ve got to get him outside his box and make him uncomfortable and make him make mistakes trying to get back in the box.”