Paul Craig and Anthony Smith could be sharing the octagon soon.
After his spectacular submission to Nikita Kralov at UFC London, on Saturday “Bearjew”, a referee, called Smith his shot and named Smith his opponent in a matchup he hopes to have in Glasgow, Scotland in June.
It didn’t take long for Smith to respond.
Ankalaev, Craig…whoever. The answer is yes. It’s always yes. It’s not me that you have to convince. https://t.co/ZKVORcrUBt
— Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) March 19, 2022
“[Magomed] Ankalaev,” Craig… whoever,” Smith posted on Twitter. “The answer is yes. Always yes. You don’t have to convince .”
Smith is currently on a three-fight win streak, most recently defeating Ryan Spann by first-round submission at UFC Vegas 37 this past September. He has been a challenger for the UFC’s light heavyweight title once.
One reason Craig called for the bout with Smith is that he’s extended his own unbeaten streak to six. He also already holds wins over a pair of contenders who have recently generated plenty of buzz, Jamahal Hill and Magomed Ankalaev.
Specifically, Craig would love to test the grappling of Smith, an owner of 14 career submission victories.
“Everybody in the top 10 has an outstanding jiu-jitsu game, and they have an outstanding striking game and wrestling game,” Craig said. To be in the game, you need to have all of these skills. If you don’t have the right things, you won’t be able to do the rest.
“Do you think Anthony Smith is a good jiu jitsu practitioner? Yes. Is it better than mine? It’s not, I think. He’s not as hungry as me, and he’s not putting himself in danger to get submissions. I am always looking for submissions. And in that fight there was times where people must have thought, ‘That’s a rear-naked choke’ — right, it wasn’t a rear-naked choke — ‘That triangle’s nearly in, awww!’ That’s what I do. This is like telling a tale. If the story I tell is I wake up in the morning and I go through my day and I wake up and I go to bed, that’s not a very exciting story. This [motions rising and falling]. is what I do. This is the sport. The sport is about entertainment and I believe I entertain people when I step into that octagon.”
Jose Youngs contributed to this report from London.