Anthony Smith fights Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Moncton this Saturday in what could be a title shot for him on the line. Smith is coming off impressive knockout wins over former light heavyweight champions Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans so it’s realistic that he could fight the winner of Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson when they rematch at UFC 232. The winner of that bout will hold the newly vacated title and could potentially have to square off with the rising star.

Jon Jones returning is a big deal for the division because it means the consensus GOAT at 205 is back and a win over him would catapult that fighter in to super stardom – potentially. Smith knows it, too and he told MMAFighting he was happy with Jon coming back even if it was some serious BS.

It is really bizarre what’s going on with the division right now, but I think that it’s starting to clear up. Regardless of how you feel about Jon Jones and all the stuff that’s going on with him, the division is moving again. The title’s back in rotation and we’re starting to move around a little now, which is a good thing, regardless of how anybody feels about Jon. And I’ll never talk about Jon’s personal life — I will absolutely talk about his steroid use, but as far as his personal life, it is what it is. That’s on him.

But it’s moving, and he’s — again, regardless of what you think, Jon Jones deserves to be in that spot. That’s just how it is. So, it’s good for me. I think that if I can win and I can get a dominant finish over Volkan, and with Jon Jones and Gustafsson fighting for it, those are three people out of the way, so I don’t see who else is in front of me. I don’t know else can argue for that title shot after that.

While he is pleased that Jon is back he does have a strong opinion of the reduced sentence he got from USADA.

I think it’s absolute bullshit. But what do you do about it? What do we do about it? Nothing. The competitor in me is happy that he’s back, because I 100 percent mean this and I feel it in my soul: I can beat Jon Jones. I have the ability, I have the skill, and I’m probably the only legitimate threat to him right now. And I mean that. That’s not just a sound bite — I 100 percent believe that I can beat Jon Jones. With him getting a long suspension, that kinda looks a little bit different and there’s always going to be those questions. Say I beat Volkan and then I get a title shot against Alexander Gustafsson and I beat him, you’re always going to get the Jon Jones question. I don’t want any questions.

What do you think? If Smith beats Oezdemir can he beat the winner of Jones vs Gustafsson.


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