Anthony Smith on Alex Pereira: ‘Given the opportunity, we both would jump on it’

Anthony Smith on Alex Pereira: ‘Given the opportunity, we both would jump on it’

Anthony Smith knows he’s not currently in the title picture, but hopes he gets an opportunity to face Alex Pereira some day.

The pair traded barbs in the past, but Smith insists it’s nothing personal. UFC light heavyweight champion Pereira (10-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) currently awaits his next challenger after knocking out Jamahal Hill in his first title defense at UFC 300.

Meanwhile, Smith (37-19 MMA, 12-9 UFC) meets rising contender Vitor Petrino (11-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at UFC 301 on May 4 in Rio. If Smith climbs his way back up into the upper echelon of the division, he thinks a matchup against Pereira would be intriguing for the both of them.

“Yeah, he’s fun, and him and I have had our words back-and-forth,” Smith told Submission Radio. “I don’t think that there’s any real beef there, but there’s definitely something there with him and I, where, given the opportunity, we both would jump on it.

“If I can put myself into a position where, holy sh*t, here, we’re on a little bit of a streak and things are going well, the timing works out, I think both of us would jump on that opportunity. And I don’t know why that is. … I don’t know – real recognizes real, a little bit.”

Smith also sees the stylistic matchup with Pereira delivering.

“I’m one of the few guys probably that would step in the fire with him, and he knows that,” Smith said. “Is (Magomed) Ankalaev going to stand in the pocket and trade with Alex Pereira and really play that game? Probably not. You know what I mean? Which is probably the worst matchup in the division for, not just him, and f*cking everybody else. That guy’s kind of the boogeyman just floating around out there.

“But yeah, I like it … I like having a little bit of stability in the division. I’m not going to lie: Jamahal is a friend of mine, so it would have been nice to see him get the title and get his title back if for no other reason other than just to legitimize himself and put himself in a good spot. But I like (a Pereira fight). I like it, and I like Pereira’s game. I like his game a lot. It’s fun.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 301.

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