Anthony Smith looked ready to put down his gloves in the Octagon after a disappointing performance against Johnnie Walker. Of his possible retirement, he said:
It was another rough night at the office for Anthony Smith. Anthony Smith once again lived up to his nickname “Lionheart” by surviving a 15-minute assault from Johnnie Walker on ABC’s UFC: Rosenstrike vs. Almeida.
It was Smith’s first fight since July 2022, when he lost to Magomed Ankaraev by TKO in the second round. At that time, his body could not keep up with his mental resolve. He tried to fight through the broken ankle he sustained in the first round, but Ankaraev took his place. The kill ended Smith’s three-game winning streak.
Against Walker, “Lionheart” seemed to be struggling in a battle of wits. At one point he seemed to be trying to galvanize himself with an interesting denunciation directed at his opponent.
“Now you attack my family,” he said to Walker in the second round. “You are attacking my family 1”
“What? What?!” replied a confused Walker.
Walker refused to be fueled by the brawl. Instead, the light-heavyweight Brazilian relentlessly kicked Smith en route to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision win. Even before Bruce Buffer revealed the winner, “Lionheart” had taken off his gloves and was expected to announce his retirement. However, due to limited time on ABC, I was unable to hear what Smith had to say about the loss.
Unresolved questions remain about his retirement, which UFC president Dana White answered at the post-fight press conference.
“Anthony, I thought he was going to retire, too,” White said. “I think after the game he told some people in the back that he wanted to think about it, but I don’t know. He comes to fights all the time. “He did what he had to do. He got through it tough. It looked like the fight was over with a few more leg kicks.”
Anthony Smith addressed the loss in a post on Instagram.
“Congratulations to Johnnie Walker and team,” he wrote. “I have a lot to reflect on and think about.
The 34-year-old has a lot of miles on his body. He has 54 professional MMA bouts with a record of 36-18 (UFC 11-8). Even in his victories, he often takes a lot of damage, and it’s unclear if he still has the energy to try again for the light heavyweight title. Is it worth it for him to keep fighting, given that he’s managed to partially transition into a successful UFC desk analyst?
I’d say he’s already shed more than enough blood for our entertainment.