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Anthony Smith puzzled by Magomed Anakalev hype: ‘They’re discussing him like he’s the next coming of Jesus’

DALLAS Anthony Smith has respect for UFC 277 opponent Magomed Ankalaev,, but simultaneously he doesnt really understand the amount of hype surrounding him.

Smith (36-16 MMA, 11-6 UFC) ‘s almost a 4-to-1 underdog normally (per BestFightOdds) even though he thinks Ankalaev (17-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is good, he doesnt realize why some individuals think hell get blown out from the water.

I assume my question is, What exactly are they since I dont?’ Smith told MMA Junkie along with other reporters during Wednesdays media day. He could be good. He could be very, excellent. I wish to be clear about this. I dont for another discredit his skills in the cage. I simply dont see anything super special. You dont need to be super special to win fights at the best level. Basics win fights, and hes very, very basic. His approach is simple. He makes no mistakes. Hes never out of position, but he doesnt always necessarily execute a lot to produce a large amount of mistakes.

A man like this, youve surely got to get him beyond his box. The mistakes will be made when hes panicking, looking to get back his box. I believe thats what I really do best. Are you aware why? I create chaos. I get people out of these safe place. I take them to places they dont prefer to be. To be fair, I dont necessarily like being there. But thats where Im probably the most successful. Weve surely got to take action anyway. I simply think hes shutting people down, and I believe thats really nerve-racking for a number of the people in the division. I simply couldnt care less. Im likely to go within and do my thing. I could fairly confidently say were likely to see Ankalaev in a manner that weve never seen him before.

One bout specifically has Smith convinced those heavily doubting him are wrong. In March 2018, Anakalaev made his promotional debut in what’s his only professional loss up to now. In the final second of the 3rd round, Ankalaev tapped to a triangle submission from Paul Craig. Realizing that, Smith cant shake the sensation Ankalaevs reputation as a cold-blooded killer is faulty.

Hes not super active (at the top), Smith said. I believe, even less so, because the Paul Craig thing, because I believe he got a bit beyond himself and got a bit overconfident and got himself caught. Having said that, I have plenty of respect for Paul Craig. I am hoping if Paul Craig sees this, he doesnt take this as disrespect. For what everyone expects Ankalaev to accomplish if you ask me, its very shocking that Paul Craig was still around in the 3rd round in order to do this. I dont imply that in a poor method for Paul. Theyre discussing him like hes the next coming of Jesus, and hes likely to rip my head off my shoulders and feed it to the crowd. Thats not just a guy which should have Paul Craig hanging out for 15 minutes. Are you aware why?

He was in a lackluster, I dont know. It wasnt a brilliant exciting (fight) vs. Thiago Santos. He were able to create a guy like Thiago Santos worry. It requires a particular individual to achieve that. I dont for another discredit the items he could do. Im also not of the belief Thiago Santos may be the same guy were used to seeing. I dont know, man. Maybe Ill figure it from Saturday night. Well see. By right now, I simply dont view it.

Whether it is a title eliminator or simply a top-tier contender fight, Smith recognizes the bout is quite crucial with a whole lot on the line. If he wins, Smith thinks he ought to be next in line for UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka but there’s one exception.

I believe this is actually the one where its sufficient for a title shot, Smith said. I really do. I dont desire to continue to appear to be Im sh*tting on Jan Blachowicz, but like, hes coming off a loss from the title and not just a fight it is possible to necessarily call a win. Was it a win? For certain. Did he beat him? I dont even think Jan would say that. If Glover gets the rematch, I’d need to yield because I’ve so much respect for Glover. Maybe theres a disagreement to be produced somewhere there, but Im not ready to sort of sh*t on Glover to create it. I believe thats the issue. If its Glover they want, then Ill need to sit there and shut up. Other things, Ill argue for a title shot.

UFC 277 occurs Saturday at American Airlines Center. The primary card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkies event hub for UFC 277.

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