After defeating Nikita Krylov at UFC London on Saturday, Paul Craig expressed his desire for a matchup with Anthony Smith in Glasgow, Scotland later this year, saying in his post fight interview, “Glasgow, June, Anthony Smith, 5 rounds?”
Smith was quick to respond.
Craig (16-4) is currently on a four-fight win streak, all by finish. Craig also holds wins over star contenders in the Light Heavyweight division including Jamahal Hill and Magomed Ankalaev. “Bearjew” currently has thirteen submission wins and is ranked eighths in the UFC’s updated standings.
Smith (36-16) is riding a three-fight win streak, most recently defeating Ryan Spann via first round submssion in September of 2021. “Lionheart” has fourteen submission wins and is a one-time UFC title challenger, losing to Jon Jones for the light heavyweight strap at UFC 235 in 2019. Smith is currently ranked fifth in the UFC’s standings.
The “Bearjew” Has Spoken
“You need to be all-around in this game. You can’t have one thing unless you’re the ’Bearjew.’ All you need is that Bearjew-jitsu and if you’ve got that, then you can go to the top and you can be the champ.” Craig said after his fight on Saturday.
When asked on how he rates Smith’s ground game, Craig had this to say, ”Do I think Anthony Smith’s got good jiu-jitsu, yes. Is it better than mine, I don’t think so. He’s not as hungry as me, and he’s not putting himself in danger to get submissions. I hunt for submissions.” Craig has expressed his desire to crack the top five of the light-heavyweight division and he thinks a win over Smith is his ticket to it.
Craig is hopeful the UFC returns to the UK this year, he said during his post fight press conference. ”I believe the UK have the demand for MMA. We see this in this card [UFC London], it was one of the quickest selling out shows, it’s stacked with European and UK talent, why would we not come back? This sport is meant to be watched live, this sport isn’t meant to be watched the next morning.”
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images