Jamahal Hill believes Anthony Smith deserves another shot at the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title even if he has to defend it against “Lionheart” himself.
Fresh off a unanimous decision win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 to claim the vacant 205-pound strap Hill is trying to determine who he will defend his title against first. The most logical choice would be a showdown with former division champion Jiri Prochazka, who relinquished his title prior to UFC 282 due to a serious shoulder injury.
The other option would be a potential superfight with current UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. It’s unknown at this time if Pereira is willing to stay at 185 pounds outside of a rematch with former champion Israel Adesanya and he may be enticed to move up in weight and avenge his good friend Glover’s loss to Hill.
Outside of those two options UFC could bring in Magomed Ankalaev for another shot at the belt or lean on a proven veteran like Smith, who was booked as the backup fighter for Hill’s clash with Teixeira at UFC 283. Hill and Smith were originally scheduled to meet at an upcoming UFC event this March before “Sweet Dreams” was yanked from that card in favor of the title shot.
The two have become training partners and good friends, but that doesn’t mean Hill won’t welcome a clash with “Lionheart.” In fact, the new UFC light heavyweight champion believes Smith deserves another shot at company gold sooner rather than later.
“Nothing would be happier for my brother to get a chance at gold, even if it is against me,” Hill told MMA Junkie. “He’s been around for a long time. He’s been working. He had the hiccup where he broke his ankle, something that was out of his control. Aside from that, he’s been killing it. He put away like three straight contenders, up-and-coming guys, hungry guys.”
Smith, who is 3-1 in his last four trips to the Octagon, ended up missing weight for his backup duties at UFC 283. It’s not a great look if the light heavyweight contender is expecting a title shot his next time out, but Hill hopes the promotion overlooks the small scale fail.
“They didn’t exactly give him the most amount of time,” Hill said. “I think they brought it up to him, mentioned, ‘Hey, we could probably use somebody as a backup.’ Then they didn’t officially make him the backup until Christmas or something like that. He was heavy, you know what I mean? Just wasn’t enough time. …
“I hope they wouldn’t hold that weight miss against him just because of the type of notice he had. Plus (he was) coming off an injury, too. People talk about the weight cut. Dude, he just broke his f—king ankle. (He was) coming off the couch from an injury.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Does Anthony Smith deserve the next UFC light heavyweight title shot?