Charlotte, NC — UFC light heavyweight Johnny Walker had accepted the result of his fight with Anthony Smith at UFC Charlotte before it even happened. Whatever that result might have been.
Walker (21-7) explained this rather unique approach following the card’s co-main event match-up, that saw Walker defeat his biggest name to date via a unanimous decision, albeit in a fight that felt as if Walker could have secured the finish at times.
“Before the fight happened, I accepted the results. Whatever it is,” Walker explained, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “I couldn’t do better. If this guy beats me, it’s because he’s better than me. So I came here to accept the results of the fight. I’m going to do my best to win. Whoever wins, is the best, and I accept [that].”
Much had been made of some supposed bad blood between Walker and Smith ahead of the fight; that was amplified at Friday’s weigh-in, and once again in the fight, where a fair amount of jawing took place. Walker, for his part, refused to elaborate on what was said between the two. But he discounted the notion that there was tension between himself and “Lionheart.”
“I think there was never tension. I hate nobody,” said Walker, adding that when it comes to fighting, “it’s my job.”
Smith had opted to take the high road following the fight, posting a congratulatory note on social media.
Congrats to @JohnnyWalker and his team. He was the better man in the octagon tonight.
— Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) May 13, 2023
Walker had yet to see it when his turn at the UFC Charlotte post-fight press conference rolled around. But he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to fight the veteran.
“Not yet, but thank you very much. I’m very grateful I fought him, he’s a great fighter, he’s in the top 10, top 5 for a long time, you know? And he gave me a really good experience. I’m happy that he gave me the opportunity to fight him, to show that I’m ready for the next step.”
Smith had taken his gloves off in the cage after the fight, but did not leave them in the octagon, and has yet to announce his future plans. Walker was asked how he’d feel if it turns out he retired Anthony Smith.
“I’d feel sad, right? It’s a career. But I think he had a good opportunity. He fought for the belt. He made his history, his legacy already, so let me try to do mine now.”
Watch the full UFC Charlotte post-fight press conference with Anthony Smith above.