Johnnie Walker smashed Anthony Smith at UFC Charlotte, prompting the once-titled challenger to remove his gloves inside the Octagon.
Walker believes Smith’s time is over. But he doesn’t think his opponent should retire.
“He still has something,” Walker said after giving Smith a unanimous decision in the show’s sub-main event last Saturday. “He can keep fighting a little longer, maybe until he’s 36.”
Smith, 34, seemed dismayed at the announcement of the loss. As the verdict was read out, he was holding his UFC glove in his hand, suggesting he intended to place it inside the octagon, the symbol of his retirement. He didn’t give a post-match speech or attend the post-match press conference.
UFC President Dana White said at a press conference that Smith wanted to consider the decision before making a final decision. Smith is on his second straight loss since losing by TKO to Magomed Ankaraev, who injured his ankle early in the game.
Smith’s left lead leg became a problem throughout the match as Walker threw kick after kick. At some points, the UFC light heavyweight analyst seemed incapable of continuing, but he survived to the final bell and took flying knees and punches towards the end.
Walker then entered the stands and challenged reigning light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill to a rematch. Smith was aiming for the title by beating Walker.
“It was sad,” Walker said of Smith’s demeanor after the game. “It’s a career. I’d like to try making it.”
Walker has won three in a row since being knocked out by Hill in February 2022.