UFC weight divisions jump from 185 at middleweight to 205 at light heavyweight. Paulo Costa cuts to middleweight from around 225, and last year was 214 on fight night. In 2018, Anthony Smith found he could no longer safely make 185, so moved up to a division 20 pounds higher. However, at Saturday's post-fight show, following a one-sided decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic, Smith, 32, said he's stuck.
“I stayed in kicking range at the beginning, which was obviously stupid now,” said Smith, as transcribed by Damon Martin for MMA Fighting. “He just beat up my lead leg and then we got in our clinch and grappling exchanges, which I felt okay in. He was so strong, so big. So I just ended up in some bad spots and it wasn’t really bad spots, he was just so tight on top, I couldn’t make any space. I guess just my biggest takeaway is that he was so big and so strong.
“I did everything I wanted to do in those positions but I just wasn’t able to finish some of them. I got to the clinch against the cage, I was able to get to his legs, it was just when I tried to return him to the mat, he was just so strong. I couldn’t get him bent over at the waist to get his weight on his hands. That’s what I keep going back to. I just felt like we were in two different weight classes.”
“I’ve never been one of the guys that is out here pining and calling for more weight classes but my last couple fights, it’s kind of where my brain goes. I’m just too big for 185 and you start getting to these bigger, stronger, taller, longer guys, they’re just so strong. He wasn’t passing my guard. He wasn’t putting me in danger on the ground. I just couldn’t get up.
“I couldn’t get his hands apart. I couldn’t get his head off my chest to make any space to do anything. He wasn’t overly offensive. I even was releasing posture on his head to hope that he would posture up to punch so I could at least make some space to get up. Listen, he fought a great game plan. He did everything he had to do to win.”
“I think I’ve got some big decisions to make in my career and figure out where we go from here. It’s super frustrating to lose to a guy that you feel that you can beat.
“I don’t know. 185’s still really tough. It’s a total lifestyle change and it’s year-round. It’s not one of those things where I can get into camp and change my diet and cut down. It’s a complete lifestyle change. I guess that’s one of the options. I guess the other option is to take some time off and get bigger. I don’t know. I’ve got some things to decide on.”