Anthony Smith says he was in a “dark place” following his knockout loss to Khalil Rountree Jr.

By Susan Cox - January 3, 2024

Anthony Smith is sharing that he was in a ‘dark place’ following knockout loss to Khalil Rountree Jr.

Khalil Rountree Jr., Anthony Smith, UFC Vegas 83, Results

It was just last month at UFC Vegas 83 that Khalil Rountree (14-5 MMA) defeated Anthony Smith (37-19 MMA) via knockout at 0:45 of Round 3 (see that here). The 35-year-old now sits at 1 win and 3 losses in his last 4 fights in the Octagon.

Anthony Smith, speaking on the ‘Believe You Me’ podcast, shared that he took the loss hard and has been in a dark place:

“For anybody that’s listening, if you’ve texted me or reached out and I haven’t responded, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just in a weird place and sometimes you just have to unplug and I really threw myself into just being with my family. Sometimes you have to sit back and you’ve got to reevaluate and just kind of see where you are, what do you want, where do you want to go, what do you want to do, because it was a pretty dark place there for a while.”

Originally Rountree was scheduled to fight Azamat Murzakanov (13-0 MMA) on December 2nd, but the undefeated Murzakanov had to withdraw due to pneumonia.

Smith stepped up and faced Rountree one week later. ‘Lionheart’ had to cut weight with only 10 days’ notice.

Continuing, Anthony Smith shared his preparation for the fight:

“I think it’s probably just a time thing. I think over the entirety of a training camp, over five, six, seven weeks, seeing it every single day, I think I’d figure it out. But I wasn’t seeing (the left hand), so we had to change the game plan in 10 days. So we went from having no fight to a game plan to three days into a 10-day preparation to have to change it because I’m not seeing it. I was getting f**king tattooed with it in practice. We had to change it and it was working and then I went into the fight and (Rountree) was just way faster than I had anticipated.”

“I knew he was going to be fast, but it was shocking how fast he is, how he goes from zero to 100 so fast. So I struggled with the speed in the fight, I didn’t really have any other options. I wasn’t seeing the left hand, he was faster than I was, and he was faster than I was prepared for. Some of that is I wasn’t in fight shape. I was seeing things, but my body just wasn’t reacting fast enough because I haven’t been in camp. That’s no excuse, that’s my fault, I put myself in that position and I knew that was a possibility.”

Khalil Rountree Anthony Smith

(via Zuffa LLC)

As for what is next, the Nebraskan shared (h/t MMAFighting):

“I don’t want to be the guy that has people telling you that you need to leave. I’d like to go out on my own terms, and I don’t want to be forced out. Those questions and those doubts come in, like, ‘Do I belong here? Why am I still doing this?’ Am I doing this because it’s all I know? Because I don’t need the money. I don’t need to take unnecessary damage. I don’t need to get knocked out for no reason. The money is nice, and the paychecks are cool and the adrenaline rush that you get from being in there is awesome, but am I just doing this because I don’t know anything else? It’s all I know, it’s all I’ve done my whole adult life. I just kind of remove myself from everything and just cut away from all the outside input and just try to figure out what do I really want. Why am I still doing this? Do I still want to fight because I like fighting or is it just because it’s familiar?”

Concluding, Anthony Smith confirmed he’s not ready to hang up the gloves yet:

“I think I came to the conclusion that I still like fighting and I still want to do it. There’s some things that need to change though. Not just in my game and style. I had a conversation with Glover (Teixeira) that I think really helped a lot. Just as we age, you have to change some things. It’s not that you have to quit fighting, it’s not like, ‘I’m not as good here, I’ve not progressed here,’ but there’s some things that you’re already good at that you can continue to really shape your game around and just change it a little bit. I also think maybe I need to stop being so focused on the end goal so much. Maybe I just need to take it one at a time and just face whatever challenge is in front of me and stop—not that I’m looking past people or looking too far ahead—but everything I have wrapped into this fighting thing is about the title. Maybe when I stop being so concerned about the title, maybe I can fully focus on what’s in front of me.”

Who would you like to see Anthony Smith fight next?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!


Anthony Smith UFC