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Morning Report: Anthony Smith says he is in talks to face Jon Jones this year

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Over the weekend, Jon Jones returned to MMA with a bang, stopping Alexander Gustafsson in the third round of the UFC 232 main event to reclaim his light heavyweight title. Afterwards, the conversation quickly turned to whether he would move up to heavyweight to chase down his rival, Daniel Cormier, but Jones seems content to remain at 205 pounds and reestablish the legacy he has tarnished with outside-of-the-cage activities. Along those lines, third-ranked light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith was in the FOX booth on Saturday and in a post-fight interview with Jones, asked the new champion if he was free to fight in July, which Jones seemed amenable to.

“I believe that this is my era,” Jones said. “I believe that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I believe that I’m only getting better and I will defeat whoever I have to defeat. . . July? Bro, I got you in July if that’s what it’s gonna be. I’ve got anybody. You know I’m not worried about a damn thing.”

That’s good news for Smith who now says that his management is in talks with the UFC about setting a time and location for a bout with Jones.

“It sounds like he’s in,” Smith told TMZSports recently. “Of course, [my manager] has already been talking to the UFC and I think that they’re working that out and seeing what that looks like as far as timelines and stuff, but I’m in.”

That July timeline that Smith floated out seems like it won’t be happening though. After he third extended layoff from fighting in the last few years, Jones has made it clear that he hopes to have a very active 2019 and Smith is more than ready to oblige him as soon as he is ready.

“Any time, any place, anywhere, I’m ready,” Smith said. “I’ll fight Jon this weekend if he wants to.”

Smith’s willingness to fight Jones earlier than July hasn’t stopped the light heavyweight champion from pursuing other options though. On Twitter, the champion called out Corey Anderson, who won a unanimous decision over Ilir Latifi at UFC 232 but Smith argues that he’s the only fight that makes sense for Jones if Cormier won’t come back down to 205.

“It’s what the fans want to see,” said Smith. “They don’t want to see Jon go in there and beat up on Corey Anderson or whoever else. They don’t want to see that sh*t. There’s nothing there.”

Smith has some good reasons to believe this. After winning season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter, Anderson has gone 9-4 in the UFC light heavyweight division, having lost to most of the very top contenders he has faced. Meanwhile Smith, who moved up to 205 last year, has gone 3-0 in the division, with three stoppages, two over former champions and one against recent title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. It’s an impressive run and one he thinks he can get rolling against arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history.

“Anytime you take out Alexander Gustafsson with a finish, that’s a huge accomplishment,” Smith said. “So hats off to Jon, that was obviously a great performance, but I’ve seen him look better. I saw a beatable man. I saw a guy that I can compete with and a guy that I can beat. I’m not wowed by Jon Jones. That’s not saying that I don’t think he’s a phenomenal fighter, but I’m not afraid of him and I think that Jon has a lot of people beat before they even get in there. I think people look at Jon like he’s an uphill battle and this unreachable task and I don’t see him like that. I’m not wowed by him. I see a man that I can beat and a person with holes, like any other human, that can be exploited.”


KOotY. Yair Rodriguez’s back elbow shot on the Korean Zombie is 2018 KO of the Year.

$$$. Dana White: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor rematch should happen in 2019

Let go. Jimmy Smith announces departure from UFC.

Hangry. Jon Jones plans to fight three times in 2019 to satisfy ‘hunger that’s raging’.

No regrets. Tenshin Nasukawa has ‘no regrets’ from Floyd Mayweather exhibition.

New deal. CES signs multi-year deal to air on UFC Fight Pass.


UFC 232 Rewind.

Fight Motion.

The Thrill and the Agony.

Most wanted fights for 2019.

Tommy Toe Hold.


Heavy Hands. Breaking down how Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes won their new belts.

Anik & Florian. Recapping UFC 232 plus an interview with Alexander Hernandez.


Woodley and Usman beef hard.

Farewell.

No one should.

“Biggest fight of 2019”

He mad.

Nah.

Lauren Murphy laying it out.

Conor 2.0.

I support this idea.


2015: Jon Jones handed Daniel Cormier his first and only defeat, winning a unanimous decision at UFC 182.


Eduardo Dantas (20-6) vs. Manny Vasquez (12-3); Bellator 215, Feb. 15.

Magomed Ankalaev (11-1) vs. Darko Stosic (13-1); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


Poll

Who should Jon Jones fight next (other than Daniel Cormier)?

  • 43%

    Anthony Smith

    (35 votes)

  • 1%

    Corey Anderson

    (1 vote)

  • 55%

    Really? These are the only non-DC options available?

    (45 votes)



81 votes total

Vote Now


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