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Corey Anderson claims Anthony Smith is lying about himhttps://www.yahoo.com/sports/corey-ande ... 21673.htmlLight heavyweight world title contender Corey Anderson (12-4) doesn’t mind people talking about him, but when they mention him along with incorrect information he takes issue. This is precisely Anderson’s problem with recent statements made by fellow top 205-pounder Anthony Smith (32-14).
In a recent interview with the Submission Radio podcast, Smith claimed that Anderson turned down fights with him and former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, as well as with Alexander Gustafsson (18-6), which “Overtime” denies to Yahoo Sports.
First, the claim that Anderson refused a proposed fight with Smith. “Never,” he stated, simply.
“His name never came across the board.”
Anderson of course fought Rua in 2016, losing a split-decision to the former Pride Grand Prix and UFC light heavyweight champ. Anderson not only denies Smith’s claim that he subsequently refused a proposed rematch with the Brazilian legend, but also insists that he specifically requested the fight and that his manager told him that Rua refused.
“I’ve been trying to fight Rua ever since we fought in 2017 and he beat me by decision. I’ve been asking for that rematch forever,” he continued.
“I’d definitely love to put these hands on him now that I’m more experienced. I called my manager and have said, ‘Yo, get the Shogun fight.’ My manager came back to me and said that Shogun said ‘No,’ that he didn’t want to do any more rematches in his career, that he only wanted new fights.”
Anderson says that he can’t explain why Smith is making the claims he is, but isn’t about to let others speak for him on the decisions he makes about his own career. “I don’t know where he get it,” he said.
“My wife said that it sounds like someone is feeding him the wrong information to get him fired up. I don’t know. I don’t know if they talked to [UFC matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] and them and they told him that, or if his manager told him that to pump him up or if my manager said something on my behalf without my knowing.
“This is why I like to do stuff on my own. My management doesn’t like it, they say, ‘Why are you on Twitter calling for this and that? Leave that to us.’ But, I like to know what’s going on. I want to see and hear what’s been going on. I’ve never liked people speaking for me. I want to speak for myself.”
Smith’s most recent fight and win came against Gustafsson last month. Smith also claimed that Anderson refused to fight the Swede.
That also isn’t true, according to Anderson. “I said I hesitated on it, and I don’t really [regret that],” he begins to explain.
“When they called me, my wife was pregnant. I’d read about Ray Borg having issues with his newborn and my family was in my mind. My wife has been pregnant for three training camps. We spoke this time and the only fight we would let myself take while she was pregnant was if it was a title fight. Anything else was not worth it. Family comes first. If something happened to my wife while she was pregnant or in labor, or to our child right after he was born, I didn’t want to be on the other side of the world, not able to be involved.”
Anderson said the UFC came to his management several times proposing the Gustafsson fight, not taking into consideration the timing that he felt was best for his family. The fighter says that within 24 hours after his new child was born this year, however, he reached out to accept the fight, only to be told that the bout had been given to Smith instead.
At that point, Anderson didn’t even know Smith was an option.
“I wanted to take another fight but I was not doing anything else to take away from my family. They’re trying to make it seem like I was ducking fights. I’m not ducking fights, I’m taking care of my family.”
Anderson says he was later offered Luke Rockhold, the former middleweight champion who was moving up to light heavyweight. Anderson, who is currently on a three-fight win streak with his most two victories coming over more highly ranked opponents than he himself is, concedes that Rockhold is a great fighter and well-known name in the sport, but didn’t see a point in fighting an unranked new light heavyweight who had struggled in recent outings.
“They offered me Rockhold but in my mind, that wouldn’t do anything for me,” he admitted.
“I had just beaten the No. 3 and No. 4 guys, back-to-back. I wanted a title fight. ... If I beat Rockhold, who had just gotten knocked out in his last fight, two out of his last three, I beat a big name, sure, but even when I beat top guys in my own division I don’t get moved up. It just didn’t make sense.”
Anderson feels that standing up for himself and what he believes is best for his family, and that his dominant wrestling-heavy style of fighting is hurting him with UFC brass, who want pliant and slugfest-prone fighters in marquee matchups. “One hundred percent,” he said, confidently.
“At first it was just because I was a wrestler. I don’t the KOs but if you look at my record, in addition to winning, I’m in the top two or three in strikes landed in fights, with some of the least amount of punches absorbed. And, it’s not like I only wrestle. I’ve never been out-struck in any fight. I always triple or double the strike count of my opponent, but they only see how good of a wrestler I am. I throw a bunch of combos to get to my wrestling, but my punches land, too.”
Anderson believes that he isn’t getting discussed as the title-contender that he is as much as other fighters who he believes are more one-dimensional, in large part because media coverage assists the slugging preference narrative of the UFC. “Even the media has become fans of one-trick ponies,” he said.
“They get excited when someone scores a KO or a submission, and that’s all they’re feeding [divisional champion Jon] Jones. You can’t beat Jones if you can’t wrestle with him.”
Anderson thinks the knockout artist Smith was given a shot at Jones despite being new to the division for those reasons. “Without being well-rounded, you have guys challenging Jones on sheer heart, and then they call it, ‘Lion Heart.’”
For all his criticism of Smith, Anderson certainly wouldn’t mind facing him, next. Anderson says he’ll take “anybody in the top-five” for his next fight, but scrapping with Smith after what he says are the false statements made by him might be particularly fitting.
“That makes great sense to me,” he concluded.
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