UFC bantamweight Cole Smith explains why he now considers himself a 1-0 fighter, talks being paid peanuts in MMA.
Ottawa, ON — Debuting at UFC Ottawa, Cole Smith entered the night a 6-0 fighter. After a three-round decision win over the returning Mitch Gagnon, the Squamish, B.C. native proclaimed himself a 1-0 fighter.
If you’re confused, think of it like this: everything that came before was about getting to the UFC. Now that he’s here, Smith doesn’t think anyone cares about the past.
He might be right. In the meantime, he has a debut win to be proud of. While Gagnon had been out of action a good long while, he’s still a top bantamweight who has fought some of the best, including former champ Renan Barao.
Addressing his win, Smith admitted that “of course I have a lot to work on. I don’t really remember the third round, I think apparently I was in some sort of submissions or some shit.”
There was also the fact that Gagnon knocked him down in the fight. Yet Smith gutted it out, earning the nod from all three judges.
“Just another day, man. Everyone here is tough,” he pointed out. “I feel like there’s not much pressure on me any more. There was pressure before, to perform, just to get here. You’ve got to look good when you’re fighting all the locals.” That, it seems, might have been more nerve wracking than his UFC debut. “You can’t even lose a round [fighting locals]. If you lose a round, your stock goes down. Now I’m here, I’m fighting the guys who are the best in the world. The pressure’s kind of off. If you win, you win. If you lose, you lost to one of the guys who’s the best in the world.”
“Just another day out here,” he summed it up. Sounding more like a veteran already.
On the record he proudly proclaimed as 1-0, Smith was blunt. “Who gives a sh*t about six wins before. Nobody cares. Nobody cares. It’s all about what you do in this octagon. Nobody gives a sh*t, you can be 13, 14, you can be 100-0. You get to the UFC, you lose your first fight, nobody cares if you were 100-0. You lost in the UFC, you’re 0-1.”
The conclusion, then, is that “I’m 1-0 right now,” after his UFC Ottawa win.
As for what being in the UFC means, “it means a lot of money. That’s all it means. I’m getting older. This sport sucks. Cutting weight, doing a lot of things you don’t want to do. So I want to get paid accordingly,” said Smith.
“It’s one thing, you’re fighting for peanuts your whole life. I mooch rides, I mooch food, my brothers have to give me clothes,” he exclaimed. “It’s about time, I want to be paid. It’s bullshit that someone in the NBA who doesn’t even touch the court gets 600 grand, while I’m out here fighting my ass off, and I’m getting 10 [grand].”
Before continuing out, Smith added a disclaimer. “I am super happy to be here. 100%. I am happy with getting paid now.”
“I just mean, it’s a really, really tough sport,” he explained. “That’s all I’m saying. Thank you for the opportunity, I’m very, very happy with the UFC. My first experiences here have been absolutely amazing, they’ve treated me great. Just want to throw that out there — I love the UFC, I’m very proud to be here.”
Watch the full post-fight press scrum with Cole Smith from UFC Ottawa above!