The light heavyweight division isn’t the deepest when it comes to contenders. With champion Daniel Cormier saying he wants too defend his light heavyweight belt one more time it’s hard to figure out who he’s going to defend it against. With Jon Jones suspended the trilogy fight between these heated rivals is most likely never going to happen. The name Cormier mentioned is Shogun Rua. That looks like it’s not going to happen anytime soon. A new contender has emerged and his name is Anthony Smith.
Who is Anthony Smith? Many people are referring to him as the legend killer. Smith’s last two performances inside the octagon have been absolutely epic. At UFC 225 he faced off against former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. Smith made quick work of Rashad and knocked him out with a vicious knee in round number one. At that point it was easily the biggest win of Smith’s career. That was until this Saturday when Smith faced off against his first top 10 opponent in the UFC. Smith took a fight on short notice against another former champion and a UFC legend in Shogun Rua. Smith ran through Shogun and knocked him out in the very first round. After the fight Smith called out number one ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustaffson. Gustuffson was originally supposed to take on number two ranked light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir. Unfortunately Volkan had to pull out due to injury, so the UFC was scrambling to find Gustaffson and opponent for UFC 227. After Smith’s call out Gustaffson said he’d no longer remain on the card because he sustained and injury himself.
Smith is a breath of fresh air in the light heavyweight division and he’s without a doubt one of the next contenders in the division. I think Smith needs to fight a top ranked opponent and soon. Smith is on an absolute tear right now, and the sooner he gets back into the octagon the sooner he can earn his first title shot.
Stephen Caloggero (@steveo_calo)