Is MMA’s Newest Giant Killer Anthony Smith?

This weekend for the second straight fight, in less than two months time, UFC fighter Anthony “Lionheart” Smith has made you put some “respeck” on his name by destroying yet another former UFC light heavyweight champion.

Smith (29-13) blasted Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (25-11) for an 89-second knockout. The win establishes Smith as a new giant killer after his knockout win over “Suga” Rashad Evans in early June, which sent Evans into the comfort of the commentator retirement booth.

Fight Night Hamburg: Anthony Smith Octagon Interview

Anthony Smith calls our Alexander Gustafsson after knocking out Shogun Rua quickly in the first round in the main event at Fight Night Hamburg. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: http://bit.ly/2uJRzRR Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC.

I just believe in myself and I believe in my coaches and my support system, Smith said. Ive got three beautiful daughters and a wife at home. I do this for them, not for me. Elbows are one of my favorite techniques. My arms are so long, and I have to throw something to close that distance. My elbows are nasty, man.

Shogun threw a right hand over the top 45 seconds into the first round while getting out of the way of Smiths counter elbow. Smith pumped his left jab out, but Rua landed a kick, then found himself getting backed up by an offensive barrage from Smith. The strategy paid off and Smith landed nearly a dozen punches to back Shogun up and forcing him to drop his hands.  

A hard right hand and a brutal right elbow to the temple were enough to put Rua out on his feet. When the referee went to stop the fight, a stunned Rua needed several seconds to get it together. 10 seconds after the fight was stopped, he was actually trying to take the referee down.

Fight Night Hamburg: Anthony Smith – “I Had a Good Night Tonight, Everything Went as Planned”

Anthony Smith talks backstage after knocking out Shogun Rua 1:29 into the first round of the main event at Fight Night Hamburg. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: http://bit.ly/2uJRzRR Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC.

Smith is an Omaha, Nebraska native that has lived as an MMA journeyman for most of his career. Having fought in both smaller and major promotions, Smith is a testament to perseverance. Having most of his losses early in his career, his last two victories prove that you can never count a fighter out and that second chances are actually possible. 

He has won five of his past six, and his first two after moving up from middleweight. He can make a case for a championship run if he keeps these huge wins up. Boxer Terence Crawford and MMA fighter and Omaha radio personality Houston “The Assasin” Alexander also represent for Warren Buffet’s town, which is quietly becoming a hotbed for combat sports.   

UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa was cageside for the win and Smith bypassed a chance to call him out, instead opting to request a fight in less than two weeks at UFC 204 against Alexander Gustafsson, who needs an opponent.

I respect Jimi (Manuwa) more than anyone in this division, Smith said. But I think Alexander Gustafsson needs an opponent, so Ill see you in L.A.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.