Dana White praises Anthony Smith after winning Main Event

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LAS VEGAS – UFC President Dana White has received rave reviews for Anthony Smith after a crucial career UFC victory on Saturday over the ESPN 18 headliner.
Smith (33-16 MMA, 9-6 UFC) entered his main light heavyweight event against Devin Clark (12-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on the heels of a pair of final losses. He needed to bounce back to prove he was still a contender, and did as much with a first-round submission victory at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

White admitted it was a crossroads fight for “Lionheart” and was impressed with his response.

“He looked awesome,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after the UFC fight on ESPN 18. “He came to make a statement and a message was received. He looked good.

It has been a difficult year for Smith both inside and outside the Octagon. He faced personal hardships, including a home invasion that put his family in the spotlight. His position in the 205-pound chart was also deterred, but he relied on beating Clark.

However, there was nothing easy in the preparation for this fight. After the original headlining between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis was canceled on weigh-in day, Smith’s fight was promoted to the main event and increased from three rounds to five rounds.

However, Smith remained calm during all the changes and did his job inside the cage when the time came. That’s what White wants to see from his fighters, he said, and now things are looking up for Smith.

“These are the things you need to do,” White said. “You will see a lot in this business of guys trying to hold their place and not fight anyone. This is not the way to do it. What he did tonight is how you do it. Are you still that good? If you’re still that good then you should go out and do what you did tonight to a guy like Devin Clark: (a) hungry young stallion who wants to push his way through and steal your spot. You got to go out and make a statement, and he did it tonight. People respect that.

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