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Anthony Smith: Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson let Jon Jones PED situation ‘distract’ them

LAS VEGAS — News came out Thursday that Jon Jones had more atypical drug-test findings earlier this month. The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) has cleared Jones despite that, because scientists believe Jones is testing positive for a long-term steroid metabolite that he was already punished for almost two years ago.

The man Jones will defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Saturday at UFC 235, Anthony Smith, said he is not at all surprised by these developments. This is something Smith said he knew would happen with some Jones drug tests coming back clean and some having the DHCMT M3 long-term metabolite.

“It’s expected,” Smith said at UFC 235 open workouts at MGM Grand. “I didn’t have any doubt in my mind. Whatever reason, he tends to pulse when he gets close to a fight. I expected it. I would have been more shocked if it wasn’t there. It is what it is, man.”

Smith said he spoke Thursday with NAC executive director Bob Bennett and he has no problem with the commission’s decision to license Jones to fight. He does not believe that Jones has a competitive advantage from the trace amount of steroid metabolites in his system.

“I trust the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” Smith said. “I don’t understand the science behind it. It doesn’t make any sense to any of us — we’re just regular people. So it doesn’t make any sense to me. But Bob Bennett has been doing this a long time and I just don’t think that he would put me in a position where someone else starts with a headstart. That’s not me giving Jon a pass, though. Obviously, there’s been some sort of indiscretion. At some point in time, he’s used PEDs and I don’t think we can argue that. As far as now, I think Jon is a clean athlete.”

Smith (31-13) is a huge underdog against Jones, who is one of the greatest fighters of all time and never actually lost a fight other than a disqualification. Smith, 30, said the last thing he wants to do going into a huge fight like this is let Jones and his issues with positive drug tests affect his focus. He believes Jones past opponents like Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson did just that — and it cost them.

“Like I’ve been saying, I think Cormier and Gustafsson have spent a lot of time talking abut the negative things that Jon does and who he is as a person and all the stuff he has going on,” Smith said. “Listen guys, Jon Jones does a lot of things right. He does a lot of good things and that’s what I’m focused on. And all the good things he does is in the Octagon. That’s all I care about. All the other stuff is just a distraction. Cormier and Gustafsson let that distract them and they let Jon win. I’m not gonna let Jon mentally or emotionally beat me. It’s not gonna happen.”

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