Anthony Smith was looking forward to an extended break after his win over Alexander Gustafsson and now he’s going to get it whether he likes it or not.
This past weekend in Sweden, Smith wrapped up a fourth-round submission win to finish Gustafsson by rear-naked choke as he got back into the win column following a loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones back in March.
Immediately after the fight was over, Smith revealed that he suffered a broken hand during an early exchange that definitely hampered him in many of the exchanges on the feet.
Smith visited with his doctors on Monday and he will now be headed into surgery to repair the damage done during the fight.
“I think I jinxed myself. That’s what I get and that’s what my fiancée said ‘well I guess you asked for a break, it’s what you get I suppose’,” Smith said when speaking to MMAFighting on Monday. “So I had the doctor’s appointment today, I have surgery on Wednesday morning and they said probably four months before I can fully start a training camp. That’s the best guess they have right now.
“So we’re looking at probably six months best case because by then I’ll have to get back into shape and get a camp going. So best case, probably six months.”
While he initially thought the broken hand happened in the first round, Smith realized watching the fight back that it was actually a punch that landed to the top of Gustafsson’s head in the second that caused the injury.
Perhaps even more disturbing is that Smith not only figured out when he broke his hand but he actually heard the injury happen thanks to the audio from the broadcast.
“Paul Felder actually said something about it on the broadcast. I landed a nasty, nasty left hook and Alex ducked his head and he took it right on top of his forehead. That’s where you want to take it if you’re going to take one,” Smith said.
“If you get a chance, go back to that moment and listen to it. You can hear the bone break. It’s loud. It’s really loud. You can hear it. That’s when Felder said ‘I hope Anthony didn’t hurt his hand’ and unfortunately that’s when it happened. I knew right away that it was broken.”
Despite the agonizing pain, Smith refused to give an inch to Gustafsson in the fight, which is why he continued to throw punches with the broken hand.
“It hurt so bad. It was terrible,” Smith said. “Right at first it wasn’t too bad. As the fight went on, it was terrible. Honestly, I told Marc [Montoya] right away, I said ‘I broke my hand’ and he said ‘all right well then we’re throwing elbows’. I said ‘nah f—k it, I’ll just keep throwing it’.
“That’s my mentality. I’m here, I’m hurt, let’s just fight. I’m not going to break it any more [than it’s already broken]. I knew in my head I was going into surgery so I was just like let’s go. I didn’t want it to change my mentality.”
With the surgery scheduled for Wednesday, Smith plans on hitting the road with his family on Friday to go on some adventures together this summer after keeping an arduous schedule for the past year.
More importantly, Smith can take time off knowing that he’s coming off a huge win over Gustafsson while the UFC watches the rest of the light heavyweight division to determine who he will face next.
“I wanted to be able to do it free mentally. That’s all I wanted. I wanted to be able to take a break and god—mn it would suck to have to sit for six months coming off a loss,” Smith said. “I wasn’t super sold on this fight initially and I don’t think that’s too big of a secret. Just because I didn’t want to leave my family but once again Marc Montoya and Jim [Walter] they had the foresight to know it’s not always about what you want to do, it’s about what you need to do.
“I needed to be able to take a break mentally free and just sit back and enjoy my family. Because honestly if I would have taken six months off after Jon [Jones], it would have been a miserable six months.”