This past weekend (Sun. July 22, 2018) in Hamburg, Germany, Anthony Smith surged up the ladder in the UFC light heavyweight division when he defeated former 205-pound champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Smith obliterated Rua in the first round by knockout. He made a case for UFC light heavyweight title contention with the victory or a title eliminator fight at the very least. Prior to the fight there were rumblings of Rua getting a crack at UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier with a potential victory.
Cormier is a double UFC champion at the moment as he holds the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. There is worry amongst the 205-pound weight class that due to Cormier’s dealings with Brock Lesnar it could hold up the light heavyweight title picture.
Smith spoke on the matter after his win over Rua and said Cormier shouldn’t do the dishonorable thing and hold up the division (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“The top of the division is a disaster right now,” Smith said. “‘Shogun’ was supposed to be next and now he’s not. No one knows what’s going on with Cormier. I think that that’s the first step, we need to figure out if Cormier’s staying or going.
“I’ve said this before, I think that Daniel is an honorable man and it wouldn’t be a very honorable thing to do to hold up the division. He knows right now. You guys could ask him 100 times and he won’t tell you, but he knows if he’s coming back down or not, and I think that he needs to make that public so we can figure out what we’re all doing.”
After his UFC heavyweight title victory over Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, Cormier had a physical confrontation with Lesnar inside the Octagon. UFC President Dana White noted that Cormier vs. Lesnar will be the next UFC heavyweight title bout to take place.
Lesnar isn’t eligible to fight until January. Cormier could either get a light heavyweight title defense in during that time or simply sit out until his eventual collision with “The Beast.”
It should be interesting to see how Cormier’s scenario plays out, and how it affects the light heavyweight division in the process.