Anthony Smith was understandably dejected after his unanimous decision loss to Johnny Walker at UFC Charlotte, but he never contemplated retirement.
The confusion stemmed from Smith removing his gloves in the octagon, which is typically a sign that a fighter might be calling it a career. Even UFC president Dana White later acknowledged that he thought Smith might be retiring before adding that the one-time light heavyweight title challenger wanted to “think about it” before making any decision about his future.
It turns out, Smith removing his gloves had nothing to do with retirement and he never contemplated walking away no matter how disappointed he was in the outcome of his fight.
“My hand wraps were really tight,” Smith revealed on his Sirius XM show about why he removed his gloves. “No, come on, I’m not going out like that.”
"I'm not going out like that."— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) May 16, 2023
Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) confirms he will NOT being retiring after #UFCCharlotte
Source: MMA Today | @RJcliffordMMA pic.twitter.com/HWgQPfTloR
The fight played out in fairly one-sided fashion with Walker punishing Smith’s lead leg with kicks throughout the fight, which definitely affected the 54-fight veteran’s movement throughout all three rounds. Smith did win the second round on one scorecard but the result was still the same with Walker earning the unanimous decision victory.
The loss dropped Smith to 3-2 in his past five fights with a second straight defeat overall after he suffered an ankle injury in his previous outing against Magomed Ankalaev that led to a second round TKO.
While Smith was obviously unhappy with the fight against Walker, he says there’s very little chance that you’ll ever see him go through the motions of taking off his gloves and laying them down in the center of the octagon to announce his retirement.
“If I ever retire, it will be one of two ways,” Smith explained. “I’ll fade into obscurity and you guys will go ‘damn, I haven’t seen Anthony in a while,’ or it will be being drug out of there kicking and screaming.”
Despite the setback, Smith remains a stalwart in the light heavyweight rankings, which still puts him within striking range of a future title opportunity if he can put together another win streak.
As for Walker, he has now won three fights in a row overall as he takes another step forward towards potential title contention with Smith serving as the most notable win on his resume.