LAS VEGAS – Anthony Smith knows it seems crazy to some, which is precisely why he likes it so much.
Two weeks ago, Smith (37-18 MMA, 12-8 UFC) didn’t even have a fight on the books. Saturday, he steps into the UFC Fight Night 233 co-main bout opposite Khalil Rountree (12-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC). The event takes place at the UFC Apex.
“They wanted me to fight him in Austin, but there were like six days or something like that,” Smith told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “It was really short notice. I said I would take the fight but I couldn’t make 205 that fast. So I asked for a catchweight.
“Everyone was good with the catchweight, but Dana (White) isn’t a huge fan of catchweights. So he asked if I would make 205 this weekend, so he gave me an extra weekend to make the weight class. I said yeah.”
For Smith, a former UFC title challenger, the risk doesn’t necessarily outweigh the reward. While some critics may question his decision to fight backward on short notice against a dangerous knockout artist, Smith dismissed the rankings’ significance in the determination of his future.
“The rankings are for people on Twitter and you guys,” Smith said. “We don’t really pay attention to that too much. To be honest, the UFC doesn’t really pay that much attention to it either. Rankings are like a marketing machine. It’s really easy to make people care about something more when there are numbers next to their names.
“The UFC understands how tough of a position I put myself in and how hard it is to come in on short notice and beat a guy like Khalil. And it’s even harder to look good doing it. So if you come in and you put yourself in these precarious positions and do hard things, I think you get rewarded for that.”
So what deep down in Smith’s core makes him want to take a fight others would potentially decline?
“I like doing crazy sh*t,” Smith said. “Taking a fight with Khalil Rountree on like 10 days’ notice is pretty crazy.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 233.