Anthony Smith cut 22 pounds in two days after flying over 5,000 miles to serve as the backup for the UFC 283 title fight between Jamahal Hill and Glover Teixeira. He was one pound short of his target weight due to a bout with flu and sinus infections.
“I was really sick,” Smith, who on May 13 takes on Johnny Walker, said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Really, really, really.”
Smith, 34, didn’t initially reveal the circumstances surrounding his weight miss, which turned out to be a wash for the UFC when Hill and Teixeira made weight without incident for the Jan. title fight.
“It’s a fairly simple story, but the problem is, every time – everyone always gets mad when you don’t give a reason for what you did, or something that happened,” Smith said. “They’re like, ‘Well, you won’t even give us a reason. They don’t deserve any reason. And then they become upset that you aren’t saying anything.
“The second you give the reason, it immediately becomes you’re an excuse-maker. You can’t lose. So I’d love to tell you. And it would make a lot of sense, like, ‘Oh, OK. Holy s***, that makes a lot of sense.”
The week prior to the event, Smith said he weighed around 221 pounds, lower than his typical mark before a fight. But five days from his flight, he became ill and went to see a doctor, whom he said treated him with antibiotics.
“They gave me the all-meds and I got the steroid packs, which are the antibiotics to treat the sinus infection.” he stated. I’m supposed leave Wednesday. Tuesday, because of the meds and just being sick, I ballooned to like 235, 234 [pounds].
” We did everything we could to lose weight. At 228., I arrived in Brazil. So from Wednesday to Friday morning I cut from 228 to 206.”
Smith arrived at UFC 283 weight-ins feeling positively depressed. This is his way of describing the struggle to lose weight when ill. Despite receiving compensation for his efforts, he said he was “crushed” by his miss; he had taken the backup role in hopes of sliding into a title fight after losing Hill as an opponent for a UFC Vegas headliner.
“Sometimes that s*** happens, and I’m really critical people that miss weight – that’s your job, you gotta make weight,” he said. If I didn’t think so, I would probably have called him and said that I was really sick. It’s impossible for me to make it. Without a backup, we’ll have to move. However,… I would have to say I couldn’t do it, and I just can’t say that.”
Hill is now the UFC light heavyweight champion after outpointing Teixeira in Brazil, while Smith has been booked against Walker, who’s returned to form with back-to-back finishes in his previous two fights.
“I think he’s learning some new skills and I think that it’s helping him a little bit,” Smith said. It sometimes hurts him. He’s a similar guy as he has been for quite some time. …He’s learned how to adhere to a plan .”
Smith is hopeful he’ll get the next title shot if sidelined ex-champ Jiri Prochazka isn’t able to face Hill this summer. But he’s trying not to get ahead of himself. There are plenty of unexpected twists that could affect his ability to fight, as he rediscovered in Brazil.