Anthony Smith Denies Alex Pereira Beef, Claims No Challenges Made

Anthony Smith has accepted a $50,000 grappling challenge from Alex Pereira, the reigning light heavyweight champion, and clarified that he is open to any challenge from Pereira, including fighting, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, or even playing games.

Anthony Smith is clearing the air about his ongoing feud with Alex Pereira. “Lionheart” isn’t expecting another UFC title shot anytime soon. This is why he’s puzzled by the reigning light heavyweight champion’s constant mentions of him.

Recently, Pereira threw down a $50,000 grappling challenge to Smith. Smith was more than happy to accept, especially after his victory over Vitor Petrino at UFC 301.

Smith, in his role as an analyst, has noted Pereira’s success in MMA. This is despite Pereira’s grappling skills still being a work in progress. This observation sparked a heated exchange between Smith, Pereira, and Pereira’s fans. Smith wants to clarify that he’s just responding to the champ’s provocations.

Smith’s frustration was evident on “The MMA Hour”. He said, “Here’s another thing I catch a lot of shit about. Everywhere, ‘Oh, of course Anthony wants to grapple Alex Pereira. Of course he only wants to do one part of mixed martial arts.’ Because it wasn’t my f*cking idea.” Smith insists that it was Pereira who first mentioned grappling.

Smith continues, “If he wants to fight, box, kickbox, wrestle, f*cking thumb wrestle, checkers, chess, Halo on Xbox, I don’t give a f*ck. Whatever he wants to do, the answer is yes. But I’m not the one who keeps challenging him.”

Pereira was present at UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro. He even shared a video of himself pretending to sleep as Smith entered the cage. Smith admits he found Pereira’s antics amusing.

Smith said, “It’s weird. I don’t come at him. I’ve never come for him like that. Of course, you have the title belt in my division, so when people say, ‘What’s your goal?’ I want to fight the champion. I want to fight Alex Pereira.”

Smith appreciates Pereira’s sense of humor and his savvy social media presence. He said, “Like I’ve always said, he’s not this guy that’s just a serial killer mindset. He’s got a sense of humor, he’s funny, he has a really good pulse on social media and he does a good job of molding and weaving in and out of media stuff. He’s very, very intelligent, so I enjoy that part of it. It’s just weird to me.”

Smith’s win at UFC 301 was a milestone. It was his first victory in Brazil and the first defeat for Petrino. Smith had previously suffered a knockout loss to Thiago Santos in 2018. This loss led him to move up to light heavyweight, a decision that transformed his career.

Smith has since fought the best in the 205-pound category. He even challenged Jon Jones for the UFC gold. As he approaches the twilight of his career, he’s learned to be patient and appreciative. This philosophy, surprisingly, came from Pereira’s close friend and coach, Glover Teixeira.

Smith said, “Glover gave me a lot of life advice, a lot of career advice. That’s what he did. He just threw himself 100 percent into every single fight and just took one at a time. And he just put enough ‘one-at-a-times’ together and he found himself in a title fight.”


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