Johnny Walker soundly beat Anthony Smith at UFC Charlotte, prompting the one-time title challenger to take off his gloves inside the octagon.
Walker believes Smith’s time has passed. But he doesn’t think his opponent should retire.
“He still has something,” Walker said after his unanimous decision over Smith in the co-main event of this past Saturday’s show. “He can keep fighting a little bit more. Maybe until he’s 36 or something.”
Smith, 34, and appeared dejected at the announcement of his loss. As the decision was being read, he held his UFC gloves in his hands, indicating he was about to lay them in the octagon in the symbol of retirement. He not make a post-fight speech or appear at the post fight press conference.
UFC President Dana White said at the presser that he heard Smith wanted to consider the decision before making it final. It was Smith’s second straight loss since a TKO setback against Magomed Ankalaev in which he injured his ankle early on.
Smith’s left lead leg was a problem during the fight as Walker launched kick after kick into it. At several points, it looked as though the UFC light heavyweight and analyst would not be able to continue, but he survived to the final bell, taking a flying knee and punches toward the end.
Afterward, Walker went into the audience and asked current light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill for a rematch. Smith hoped to secure a title shot with a win over Walker.
“It was sad,” Walker said of Smith’s post-fight gesture. “It’s a career. But I think he had a good opportunity. He fought for the belt. He made his history, his legacy already, so let me try to do mine now.”
Walker has won three straight since Hill knocked him out in February 2022.