Anthony Smith cultivates ‘cool relationship’ with Alex Pereira during UFC 303 fight week: ‘We have no problem’

Anthony Smith cultivates 'Cool Relationship' with Alex Pereira during UFC 303 fight week: 'We have no problem'

Everything is all good between Anthony Smith and Alex Pereira.

Over the last year, ‘Lionheart’ found himself in an unexpected feud with the light heavyweight champion. It all seemingly began when ‘Poatan’ took exception to Smith’s commentary during his fights, claiming the one-time title challenger never gave him credit for his success from the moment he first stepped inside the Octagon.

“The issue is, he has his job with the UFC commentating,” Pereira said on The MMA Hour in 2023. “He’s got to do what he’s got to do, but we feel that since the beginning, he gives me no credit.”

Despite Pereira’s comments generating a slew of headlines, Smith insisted that there was no beef between himself and the two-division titleholder.

“It’s weird,” Smith told Helwani during his own MMA Hour appearance. “I don’t come at him. I’ve never come for him like that. Of course, you have the title belt in my division, so when people say, ‘What’s your goal?’ I want to fight the champion. I want to fight Alex Pereira. But he goes out of his way to pick at me, which is fine. It doesn’t bother me, I think it’s awesome actually, it’s kind of a lot of fun because he has a sense of humor.”

Anthony Smith

‘Lionheart’ echoed a similar sentiment during a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast with Michael Bisping, revealing that the two fighters were nothing but cordial with one another after sharing the stage at UFC 303 in Las Vegas.

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“Alex and I have this very cool relationship,” Smith said. “I think it’s very, very cool what we have going on. … We’re very, I think just competitive in general, but when we’re in person, I thought it was so cool how we have this like—we have a lot of respect for each other. Because it’s not awkward in person. It’s a head nod acknowledgment. We don’t talk or shake hands or anything like that, but we have no problem standing right next to each other in a room.

“I think it’s cool how we have this competitive thing. His team has always been so cool to me before—Glover [Teixeira] and his wife have always been super cool to me. It’s always been an embrace when we see each other. A respectful little chit-chat. Everyone acknowledges me. They’re still super kind to me. I think it would be unfair of me to not say on the flip side how in social situations or when we’re in person, how super respectful he is—even his kids.”

‘Pereira’ scores second-straight title defense while Anthony smith drops 4 of his last 6

Stepping in on short notice, Anthony Smith squared off with No. 10 ranked middleweight contender Roman Dolidze after his originally scheduled opponent, Carlos Ulberg, withdrew due to an injury. ‘Lionheart’ came up on the scorecards, surrendering a unanimous decision to ‘The Caucasian.’ He has now dropped four of his last six fights.

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Anthony Smith

Meanwhile, ‘Poatan’ secured his second light heavyweight title defense in three months, KO’ing Jiri Prochazka seconds into the second round with a perfectly executed head kick followed by a few ground-and-pound shots.

With Alex Pereira sitting atop the light heavyweight division and Smith sitting firmly outside the top 10, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the two compete against one another on MMA’s biggest stage. Still, it’s nice to see that the pair have put their rivalry to rest, no matter how big or small it ever actually was.