Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Anthony Smith maintains there is “nothing special” about upcoming UFC Vegas 37 opponent, Ryan Spann, and insists that whilst the former LFA champion may be a tough out for the opening round, the fight will look a whole lot different the longer the pairing plays out.

Slated to headline UFC Vegas 37 on September 18. opposite recent winner, Spann, Smith enters the headlining tilt in the midst of a two-fight winning-run. 

Featuring on the main card of UFC 261 in April at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, a well-timed and placed low kick in the opening round drew a massive reaction from New South Wales finisher, Jimmy Crute. 

At the culmination of the first round, the bout was waved off by the referee per the Octagon-sided physician as Crute dealt with drop-foot as a result of the leg attack from Smith. The victory followed a short-notice headlining bout against Devin Clark at UFC 15 back in November where he submitted the South Dakota native with an opening round triangle.

Dissecting his upcoming headliner alongside LowKickMMA reporter, James Lynch in a recent interview, Smith praised the forward pressing style of Crute, Clark, and now Spann, but maintained that the submission threat was “nothing special” — doubting his ability to present anything different following the opening round.

I do like the fight, I’m a fan of his (Ryan Spann) style,” Anthony Smith said. “It’s been fun for me, you know, the last three guys that I’ve been matched up with, I’ve been fans of how they approach the game. All three of them are very different, but they all like to fight, and where we are in the space in MMA right now, there’s not a lot of guys who like to straight-up throw down. Devin Clark likes to fight and comes forward. Jimmy Crute, obviously likes to fight and just marches forward the entire time, it doesn’t matter what you hit that guy with he keeps coming.

I think Ryan Spann is the same, but I don’t know how long that mentality is gonna last, you know,” Smith explained. “There’s been some situations where you can see Ryan Spann fade a little bit. He does have a tendency to wilt in tough situations. …

Smith went on to hypothesize that Spann will likely attempt to utilize his grappling prowess, which has brought him a stunning 11 separate submission victories, if he begins taking fire on the feet come September 18.

I would suspect that they’re (Spann and Fortis MMA) are gonna wanna blend and kinda fight everywhere and be unpredictable, but when he gets hit hard, he does tend to start shooting,” Smith said. “He doesn’t necessarily enjoy it so much, and I don’t mean that as a knock on him, not a lot of people are like me and don’t really change their gameplan when they get punched in the face — it’s probably smarter to be honest with you.

It’s a big fight for him, it’s a big moment,” Anthony Smith explained. “I got a lot of experience. He’s not gonna show me anything I haven’t seen before, there’s nothing new or flashy, or fancy or special another Ryan Spann. That doesn’t mean he’s not tough. That doesn’t mean he’s not skilled or he can’t beat me. There’s just nothing special about him. I suspect that he’s gonna be really tough for one round. But I think at five minutes and one second into the fight, that fight looks totally different.

While one-time light heavyweight title challenger, Smith enters off the back of a pair of stoppage victories, Memphis native, Spann took home an eye-catching first round knockout over tricky grappler, Misha Cirkunov back at UFC Vegas 21 in March — rebounding from his first UFC loss against upcoming headline attraction, Johnny Walker last September.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.