Anthony Smith is looking to fight up in the rankings if he defeats Ryan Spann in the main event of UFC Vegas 37.
Smith enters the fight riding a two-fight winning streak after defeating Jimmy Crute and Devin Clark. Both fights were step-down in competition after “Lionheart” faltered against the elite of the division. Yet, the hope for Smith is to start to move up the rankings if he beats Spann on Saturday night.
“I think after the Glover and Rakic fights I wasn’t in a position to ask for anybody ahead of me,” Smith said at media day. “So I just had to kind of defend the position I was in. I did that by fighting the guys that were behind me.
“I think after this fight, if I go in and have a dominant performance, I don’t think I have to defend my position anymore and I can go back to climbing,” Smith continued. “That’s why the Rakic fight makes sense to me. I have to climb ahead of me. Thiago (Santos) already has a fight coming up; Jiri (Prochazka) has the title shot to fight the winner (of Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira); Reyes is coming off three losses – I don’t think that makes sense for me. There’s really just Rakic there and that’s the guy that makes sense for me.”
Although Rakic dominated Smith just last year if Smith does get his hand raised he believes that is the fight to make. He knows Jiri Prochazka will be next in line so Rakic needs another fight and Smith believes he should be the opponent.
“I know he wants to wait for the title fight, but I don’t think that makes any sense,” Smith said. “It’s one of those things that doesn’t make much sense. He hasn’t had any barn-burning performances. He’s done enough to win, which is essentially what you have to do. But he’s not wowing anybody and the UFC is not begging him to fight for the title.
“If Jiri Prochazka is next after the Jan-Glover fight – love Jan, love Glover – but they’re not the youngest guys in the world, they’re not going to be fighting every three months. … He’s in a position where he’s going to fight again or get skipped. If I have to be the guy to push that, I would be happy to do that.”