Jacksonville, FL — Up until Chris Weidman’s unfortunate broken leg against Uriah Hall, it looked as if Jimmy Crute was going to be the man with the freak leg injury at UFC 261. Thanks to a well-placed kick by Anthony Smith, Crute’s leg turned to rubber — giving Smith his second consecutive win.
Regardless of how the win came about — in this case, a doctor’s stoppage — thanks to a vocal crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, Smith is ranking the experience very highly. “The fans were going crazy. I’ve never had reception like that before,” he exclaimed during the post-fight press conference. Smith (35-16), originally from Texas, has never fought in his home state, he noted. The experience apparently felt similar.
“And they were booing him. It was nuts man. By far my favorite walkout for sure,” Smith stated, “but that might be my best moment in my career.”
On the other hand, Smith was shocked to see the number of people betting against him against the younger prospect Crute. “I’ve been in this game 15 years. I had 31 professional fights before Jimmy Crute. It’s not like he’s going to come in and just blow me out of the water,” suggested Smith. “He’s not going to dust me. I don’t think there’s anyone in the division that can do that, including when Jon Jones was here. He didn’t blow me out of the water and make it look like I didn’t belong.”
The win, however, still came with mixed emotions. “I’m just happy. To be honest I kind of feel bad for Jimmy Crute. He’s actually a really nice guy,” explained Smith. The pair had some interactions both at weigh-ins, and back stage, “Lionheart” revealed. “He’s just a nice dude. He’s going to be really, really good. I can tell he’s got the potential and the skill set. He’s just got the get the experience.”
As for the kick that ended it all, “I really sunk that one in there,” said Smith. “And then his reaction— I thought if we got back up, he wouldn’t be able to stand. Credit to him, he lasted longer than I thought he would. Even through those grappling exchanges, he still fought through it.”
Watch the full UFC 261 post-fight press conference with Anthony Smith above.