Anthony Smith has faced a lot of adversity to date in 2020, in and out of the Octagon. As a result, ‘Lionheart’ decided to make some changes to his training regiment for UFC Vegas 15, in an effort to close out the year on a winning note.

Smith discusses changes after “really tough” year

After Smith came up short against now former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones in March, 2019, he rebounded with an impressive win over Alexander Gustafsson last June.

When the year began, it looked like Smith could be poised to return to the title shot mix. But, in May, he suffered a stoppage loss to Glover Teixiera, and took enormous punishment during the bout.

Smith competed in that fight, however, not long removed from a terrifying incident, which saw him battle an intruder who came into his family’s home. The former middleweight returned to the Octagon in August, bout dropped a clear-cut, decision loss to fellow contender, Aleksandar Rakic.

So, while talking to the media ahead of his fight today with Devin Clark, Smith had this to say about 2020 so far (quotes via MMA Fighting).

“It’s been really tough,” Smith said. “I’m never going to make an excuse even when it’s handed to me. It hasn’t been the easiest year I’ve ever been through that’s for sure.

Some of it’s my fault. Maybe if I was more of a man, I’d have the balls to maybe pull out of some of those fights and know that maybe know that some of those weren’t the best situations that I should have been fighting in but I just don’t have it in me.”

And while discussing the fact he didn’t withdraw from the Teixeira bout, following the home invasion, ‘Lionheart’ said this.

“I don’t have it in me to say that I can’t do something.

Even going into the Glover [Teixeira] fight right after the home invasion during the pandemic thing, family’s in shambles, whatever, maybe it would have been the more manly thing to do to just say, ‘Hey listen I’m having some serious issues at home, I can’t do this right now.’

But that means I would actually have to say it out loud that I can’t do it, and I’m not built like that. My brain is just not wired like that.”

Changes to preparation

Due to the setbacks Smith has incurred this past year, the 32-year-old decided it was time to make some adjustments to his training regiment.  The rugged fighter, who also works as a commentator and analyst, decided to make his camp more of a focus.

“I did a lot of things this training camp differently,” Smith said. “And maybe the average person, it wouldn’t seem that much different but you guys didn’t see me working the analyst desk this entire training camp.

If you’re a listener to my radio show, I only did one hour, once a week on my radio show. I cut way back on my show. I didn’t do any episodes of my podcast with Laura Sanko.

“I just took a lot of things off my plate and fortunately, I have a lot of people that support me that helped picked up the slack on that and picked up the pieces I’m not doing.”

It will be interesting to see how Smith (33-16) looks today against Clark (12-4). There’s no question it’s a pivotal fight for Smith, if he hopes to make a title run in 2021.

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