Anthony Smith’s plan of competing again this year has been scuppered after undergoing a second surgery on his hand.

Coming off arguably the biggest win of his career when he submitted Alexander Gustafsson back in June, “Lionheart” underwent surgery to repair a broken hand suffered during the fight. Despite the setback, he was expected to return to action before the end of the year.

However, Smith revealed on Tuesday that he required a second surgery on his hand which will rules him out of action until 2020:

“[The first surgery] went well initially but a week and a half ago I had another [surgery],” Smith told MMA Fighting. “The first one wasn’t successful so we had to do another one about 10 days ago. I’m back on the horse starting over again and trying to stay positive.

“The bone, the first metacarpal was completely snapped and displaced. Part of the bone had started peeling back because I kept throwing it during the fight. So they went in and put a plate on it, fixed a lot of the scar tissue and stuff like that. They fixed all that. I don’t know exactly what happened but the bone displaced again and that broke the plate so they had to go in and replace the plate, put in a new one. Take bone graft from my leg so I got two holes drilled in my leg. So it’s been a mess. I was out about four months from the beginning so we kind of restarted that four months a week and a half ago.”

Out for another four months, Smith plans on being “smart” about his recovery and not rushing things. However, he won’t stay on the sidelines longer than needed and is planning an early 2020 return:

“Four months until I can punch again,” Smith said. “We’re looking at January, February, we’ll get the machine fired back up again.”

Who do you want to see Smith face in his comeback?

Experienced freelance sports writer covering mixed martial arts (MMA) extensively for the last few years. Likes a good body shot.