Exclusive: Anthony Smith’s Coach Talks Treating Jon Jones ‘Like A Regular Fight’

Photo: Per Haljestam for USA TODAY Sports
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Anthony Smith’s coach Marc Montoya has built a squad of killers at Factory X in Englewood, Colorado.

Fighter-turned-head coach Montoya, who has spent the last 18 years training fighters in the Denver area, is the owner of Factory X Muay Thai & MMA. Montoya has quickly built the gym into a world-class facility that isn’t sneaking up on the competition anymore.

He lists current UFC light heavyweight title contender Anthony Smith among his top pupils. He recently sat down with LowKick MMA to discuss his gym’s recent successes.

“We haven’t been sneaking up on anyone in a while,” Montoya joked. “Like Xzibit [rapper] said, being underrated gave me time to create. I gotta bring some of the old school rap flavor since that’s part of the DNA.

“Seriously though we are super blessed to the success that we’ve had, and the culture that we have built from then till now is something that is an intricate part of why we have been successful. The guys not buying in but actually owning it is the key to where we sit present day. Its been a lot of fun but we are just getting started.”

Vision Of A Team

To his fighters, Montoya is much more than just a coach. He is a leader, a mentor, a father figure to some, and a friend to all. His passion is evident when he speaks about his team.

“I envisioned having a real team,” explained Marc. A group of guys that will have blood sweat and tears and share their life experiences together. I’ve said in many interviews that fighting is the vehicle that we get to share in life and I feel super blessed to be able to do that with all these young men and women.”

One such young man that Marc has been working with these last few years is Smith. Since being under the tutelage of coach Montoya, Smith has really hit his stride. Last year he rattled off three straight wins, earning a shot at Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title at UFC 235.

“Anthony Smith is an amazing fighter, he is an amazing guy,” Marc said. “He is getting an opportunity that he earned which is to fight Jon Jones here in March.

“Anthony is a family man, he is super coachable, and he is fun to have [around]. One of my coaches, Randy Caruso, does a lot of backend stuff for me, he is the silent assassin when it comes to our coaches because you don’t get to hear from him a lot. But Randy just mentioned to me yesterday about Anthony’s attitude and how amazing it is.”

Just A ‘Regular Fight’

While Smith is a heavy underdog in his main event bout against Jones, Montoya believes that Smith’s keys to victory are forged in the gym.

“He [Anthony Smith] is treating this like a regular fight,” Marc said. “And that comes from us preaching and telling him that, but Anthony also had to make a decision to do that. When fighters make a decision one way or the other, it dictates the future.”