One could certainly argue that a loss today for Anthony Smith would be a significant setback for the light heavyweight contender. But, the rugged veteran sounds pretty cool and composed, heading into UFC Vegas 8.

Smith says he could care less about Aleksandar Rakic

Smith is booked to face fellow light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Rakic in today’s main event. The fight will mark the first time Smith (33-15) has fought since May, when he suffered a memorable, stoppage loss at the hands of Glover Teixeira.

Heading into today’s fight, Smith is ranked #5 in the UFC’s 205 division and Rakic is #8. So, chances are the winner will be a top-five ranked light heavyweight come next, and the loser will be on the outside, looking in.

But, despite how important tonight’s bout is, Smith recently told MMA Fighting that he’s ready, focused, and not anxious about the fight’s outcome.

“I’m telling you, this is going to sound nuts, too, but I wish I could have the same mentality I have going into my next fight after a loss going into every fight,” Smith explained.

“That’s my goal right now. That’s what we’re trying to recreate. How do we keep the mentality that I have right now going into my next fight.

Because I’m going to tell you that I feel exactly the same as I did with the [Alexander] Gustafsson fight. I don’t give a sh*t about Aleksander Rakic.

“It’s not about him. I couldn’t care less. I’ve never watched him fight. I sh*t you not, I’ve never seen Aleksander Rakic fight an entire fight.

Never from beginning to end. I’ve seen clips obviously. We’ve been on the same cards together. He knocked out Jimi Manuwa the same night I was fighting Gustafsson so I catch it.

But as far as sitting down and watching his fight, I’ve never watched him.

I just don’t care. I’m focused on myself and it seems to be when I’m focused on myself and I’m not worried about what he’s going to do or where this puts me or what’s at stake, I don’t really give a sh*t.

I don’t really feel any pressure. I’m like really excited and super pumped to get back in there.”

Smith was referring to his impressive, submission win over Alexander Gustafsson, which he scored in June, 2019.

“When I care less, I’m really hard to beat,” Smith said.

“When I don’t care about winning and losing, I don’t know what it is, it’s the weirdest thing in the world. When I went into the Gustafsson fight, you should have seen the looks on these people’s faces when I said I didn’t come here to win.

I don’t know what you guys expect but I didn’t come here to win.

That’s not my goal. It’s not about wins and losses when I was in Sweden. I just wanted to perform and get that bad feeling out of my stomach.

I just wanted to throw the f**k down. That was it.”

It will be interesting to see

So, when you consider that Smith is a veteran of nearly 50 pro bouts, and that he’s fought for the title before, it could very well be the case he’s feeling no pressure.

It’s true that his road back to title contention will become much longer today if he loses. But, Smith has rebounded from big setbacks in the past.

That said, he takes a lot of punishment today, like he did against Teixeira, concerns regarding his health and whether some time off is in order, will make the rounds.

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