Story updated at 10:35 p.m. ET to reflect UFC President Dana White’s new comments about Smith’s injury.
Smith confirmed the news in a text to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following initial news posted by Ariel Helwani.
UFC President Dana White initially stated that the one-time title contender suffered “no fracture” during the fight. But he later clarified that he’d made an error at the post-fight press conference at UFC 277.
“He did break his leg – his leg was broken,” White said at the post-fight press conference at DWCS Season 6, Week 2. “They ended up finding the fracture in his leg. I guess it was in a weird place, hard to find. He was sitting there questioning himself like, ‘What the hell is wrong, I feel like my leg is broken. I know my body,’ and all this stuff.
“But I just wanted to tell you guys that because sometimes it makes it look like, ‘Oh, he’s trying to get out of the fight, he broke his leg.’ The way that I looked at it was, he got kicked in the leg so f****** hard that he thought his leg was broken, you know what I mean? Which you can imagine, too. But he legitimately has a break in his leg that is going to need surgery. So for him I wanted to put it out there because I was the one who said it wasn’t broken.”
The injury occurred when Smith threw a leg kick midway through the opening round that resulted in his ankle snapping.
Even with the broken ankle, Smith continued fighting through the first round and still made it out for the second round. But then, Smith ended up on the ground, where Ankalaev ultimately finished him with strikes when he could no longer stand on the leg.
The UFC has seen similar injuries in recent years, including a pair of devastating broken legs suffered by Chris Weidman and Conor McGregor after they also threw kicks that resulted in catastrophic injuries.
Rather than a broken leg, Smith suffered a broken ankle, but the damage done will still keep the UFC veteran sidelined with plans for surgery in the very near future.
The loss to Ankalaev ended Smith’s three-fight win streak that put him back in title contention as he sought to compete for UFC gold again after falling short in his first bid to become champion after falling to Jon Jones back in 2019.
There’s no word yet how long the broken ankle and subsequent surgery will keep Smith sidelined.
Get the latest gear
- 2023 Panini Prizm UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Panini Select UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- Islam Makhachev Walkout Jersey
- UFC Fanatics Single Glove Display Case
- 2022 Panini Donruss Optic Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Donruss UFC Retail Blaster Box
- Miesha Tate UFC Authentic Plaque
- Brock Lesnar WWE Home Sweet Home Collage