Anthony Smith replies to Nikita Khrylov’s call: “Yes, I am totally down.”


Don’t threaten Anthony Smith with a good time.

As he was working as an analyst for ESPN on Saturday, the veteran light heavyweight contender heard his name mentioned by Nikita Krylov just after Krylov picked up an impressive win over Volkan Oezdemir on the UFC 280 preliminary card.

“I think it will be great with [Anthony] Smith,” Krylov said. “I think he’s No. 5 in the rankings. I will be really happy if the organization gives me a fight with him. If he can’t or he’s scared, I can fight with anyone, everyone.”

Smith could only react with a smile, especially after hearing Krylov suggest that there’s even the slightest chance that he might be frightened by that particular matchup.

Smith was happy to answer the challenge and accepted the invitation to meet Krylov soon.

Smith stated

” Scared. “I have a lot of respect for Nikita Krylov. He’s the dark horse of the division, as I have said many times. He put [Alexander Gustafsson’s] lights out fast. Like nobody gets rid of Gustafsson like that. I fought him and it took me four rounds to get him out of there. I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy.

” The answer to everyone in the division is, and will always be — “Yes.” I’m totally down. Maybe March? I’m in.”

Smith currently has his leg repaired after he was injured in his fight with Magomed Anakalaev back in July. Smith sustained the injury in round one. Ankalaev won the fight just moments later after Smith’s defeat.

Smith had to have surgery after the injury. However, he revealed to MMA Fighting recently that his recovery is taking longer than he expected due to a blood clot in his leg.

As a result, Smith had to go on blood thinners as his doctors awaited the clot to be cleared before allowing him to begin working towards a return to action.

” Originally, before the blood-clot, we were hoping to fight in January,” Smith stated at that time. It’s possible, although it is probably too optimistic. But the blood clot issue really set me back. I don’t actually know when I’ll be able to do all that stuff again because it’s on its own timeline. It does its own thing.

“Your body just has to absorb it and that could take a month. It could take six months. You could wait longer. It’s possible. It’s something I really hope to do soon. To be completely honest with you .”

, it’s been a difficult year.

Smith is now aiming for March as a return date. It seems that the blood clot did not slow him down. Whether or not the UFC decides to book Smith against Krylov in 2023 remains to be seen.