Smith, 35, returned to the win column in the UFC Singapore co-main event this past weekend, defeating Ryan Spann via a split decision in a rematch from their September 2021 encounter. The first fight also saw Smith walk away victorious, submitting “Superman” with a first-round rear-naked choke before he dropped back-to-back losses against Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker.
During his skid, Smith watched the former middleweight champion Pereira make the transition to light heavyweight in the UFC. Initially, Smith didn’t expect the seasoned striker Pereira to fare well against the bigger and better grapplers swimming within the 205-pound waters. Tasked with the division’s former titlist Jan Blachowicz, Pereira passed his test with a split decision win of his own at UFC 291 last month. At UFC Singapore media day last week, Smith noted how he thought Pereira performed well but felt “Poatan” was no longer the same “large, scary monster” he was at 185 pounds and was now a “fairly normal dude.”
“I always see him talking, especially about me,” Pereira said on his YouTube channel. “He talks really bad. I don’t know what he has against me but he criticized other athletes too, saying the athlete didn’t make weight and a guy who in Glover [Teixeira’s] fight in Rio de Janeiro was a backup and the guy didn’t make weight. It shows why he’s not that successful. Because someone who’s going to be a backup fighter, he takes it easy unlike Glover.
“You can see he didn’t take it seriously. He just didn’t make weight and now today he relishes bashing other athletes because he has no clue what they go through. A commentator who is a fighter knows how tough it is but somehow he chooses not to give them any credit or at least stay silent. He has to put his two cents in because he loves being in the spotlight. He doesn’t show up at the fights. I mean, he likes fighting but doesn’t show up. No one talks about him so he spouts off nonsense just to get some screen time.”
Smith has gotten more active in his analyst and desk role in this latter portion of his career but still maintains his desire to be the best competitor. However, the 55-fight veteran admitted ahead of his Spann rematch that trying to replicate Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s “anywhere, anytime” fight mentality has been somewhat of a mistake.
Having fought for a UFC title on one occasion where he came up short against Jon Jones, Smith’s comments outside the octagon stem from jealousy, believes Pereira.
“If there’s one guy doing well and another guy only criticizing, people aren’t stupid,” Pereira said. “They’ll see what’s going on. They’ll see that he’s just a bitter man. The only ones who speak bad about me are Anthony Smith types. Washed-up vets who never amounted to anything, who are still fighting. They’re in a really tight spot or the guy who is still a nobody but those who are already doing well, I don’t see them talking about me, you know? It’s the ones who are beneath me.”
The Blachowicz win launched Pereira immediately into the top three of the UFC’s official light heavyweight rankings. Therefore, a title shot in his next time out is something fans are anticipating as a possibility against former champion Jiri Prochazka for the vacant crown.
Meanwhile, Pereira’s currently relaxing in Los Angeles where he had a chance to catch up on the action in Singapore as per requests from his fans. Unfortunately for “Poatan,” he wasn’t all too entertained.
“The first round was kind of a bland round,” Pereira said. “Not too exciting. Anthony Smith took it but without doing much. In the second round, Ryan started putting in his strong hands there and Anthony Smith felt it, almost got knocked out, went to some good positions, stayed on top. So it was clearly a round with a high risk for Anthony Smith.
“The third round was also more slow-paced. Anthony Smith really tired, I was wondering if it’s the altitude or what’s up with that place. The guy being 35 years old, performing, fighting at a high level, and didn’t do that much to get that tired. I guess he has some issue.”
“I think it was kinda a controversial fight,” he added. “In my opinion, he took the first round. The second one clearly went to Ryan. The third one, to break the tie, was kind of a draw. I’d say it’s more or less a tie, in my view.”
Finale. ‘True legend’: Pros react to Korean Zombie retiring after thrilling loss at UFC Singapore
Anger. Dillon Danis: Mike Perry vs. Logan Paul staredown ‘pisses me off to the point where it’s like, ‘f*** you’
Upset. Daniel Dubois furious over controversial foul in Oleksandr Usyk fight, team vows appeal: ‘I’ve been cheated’
Debunked. Max Holloway happy to dispel ‘Pillow Holloway’ nickname with walkoff knockout at UFC Singapore
UFC Singapore Post-Fight Show.
An unforgettable career.
Bellator’s best heavyweight KOs.
PFL Road to Championship.
Collard vs. Burgos recap.
Invicta Rapid Rounds.
War Room: Gane vs. Spivac.
Adesanya’s 293 Training Camp – Part 1.
Sterling’s post-fight transformation.
I see this fight as too easy of a challenge, I would like to find convincing reasons to face you, but at the moment, I can’t seem to find anything that captures my atención .Keep rising and let’s see if someday you deserve my time. https://t.co/cllg3YCFX3
— Ilia Topuria (@Topuriailia) August 26, 2023
What an honor to share the octagon with you @koreanzombiemma . The man, the myth, the legend. Watching you through out the years and how you carried yourself in the fight world, with humility and respect. like a true martial artist. The OGs of WEC/UFC. None of these circus acts.… pic.twitter.com/qy6dpMy2Or
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) August 27, 2023
There are managers that take 20% of fighters purses AND 20% of their bonuses. If you do this to the fighters you are a POS.
— Sean O’Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) August 28, 2023
Stop with the eggplants…
Living the dream.
Sexy and Zombie.
Ryuya Fukuda (20-7-1) vs. Erson Yamamoto (4-5); RIZIN 44, Sept. 24
Hideo Tokoro (35-32-2) vs. Alan Yamaniha (20-10-4); RIZIN Landmark 6, Oct. 1
Yuki Ito (14-5) vs. Topnoi Kiwram (9-5); RIZIN Landmark 6, Oct. 1
Ayaka Watanabe (3-1) vs. Machi Fukuda (3-0); RIZIN Landmark 6, Oct. 1
Yutaro Muramoto (11-7-2) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (17-5); RIZIN Landmark 6, Oct. 1
Well, Pereira vs. Smith has suddenly become a fight that almost seems good to make if the light heavyweight division wasn’t such a mess at the top. I guess you never know.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 63% of 455 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Israel Adesanya still be the UFC middleweight champion by this time next year?”
Thursday: 38% of 515 total votes answered “1” when asked, “How many title defenses will Sean O’Malley achieve?”
Wednesday: 71% of 474 total votes answered “Max Holloway and Ryan Spann” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Holloway defeated Chan Sung Jung via third-round knockout in UFC Singapore’s main event after Anthony Smith defeated Spann via split decision in the co-main event.
Tuesday: 40% of 862 total votes answered “Merab Dvalishvili” when asked, “Who are you most interested in seeing Seab O’Malley fight next?”
Monday: 23% of 378 total votes answered “B” when asked, “What letter grade would you give UFC 292?”
Today’s exit poll: