Making a short-notice return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 83 this weekend, one-time light heavyweight title challenger, Anthony Smith has voiced his desire to fight for the division’s crown once more, and no better opponent to attempt that feat against in the form of rival, Alex Pereira.
Smith, the current number eight ranked light heavyweight contender, has been sidelined since he featured in the co-main event of UFC Singapore back in August, landing a second split decision win over Ryan Spann in the pair’s rematch in Asia.
And booked to make a short-notice clash this weekend, Smith takes on The Ultimate Fighter alum, Khalil Rountree Jr. – tasked with snapping the violent light heavyweight finisher who has enjoyed an impressive four-fight winning streak.
Anthony Smith eyes title fight against Alex Pereira
Challenging for light heavyweight spoils back in 2019 in a one-sided decision shutout loss to Jon Jones, Nebraska native Smith claims he would position himself for a second title siege with a win this weekend over Rountree Jr. – claiming he would like to “validate” himself against the incumbent gold holder, Pereira.
“Since Jon (Jones) left [the light heavyweight division], the title’s been playing hot potato a little bit,” Anthony Smith told assembled media ahead of UFC Vegas 83. “All I’ve wanted is my journey to be recognised.”
“I think taking it off Alex (Pereira) would validate me,” Anthony Smith explained. “I don’t think anybody could really say anything about that. I think people would have to respect that.”
A former undisputed middleweight champion, Sao Paulo striker, Pereira landed the vacant light heavyweight crown at UFC 295 back in November, landing the championship with a second round TKO win over Czech Republic native and former titleholder, Jiri Prochazka at Madison Square Garden.
Who wins in a future championship clash: Alex Pereira or Anthony Smith?