During his big win over former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Night 153 last June (recap), Anthony Smith suffered a broken left hand, which resulted in “Lionheart” having to undergo surgery.
Smith was hoping to have a short recovery time that would allow him to return to the Octagon in 2019 in order to capitalize on his newfound momentum. Now, he will be forced to ride the pine a bit longer, as Anthony revealed to MMA Fighting that he recently underwent another surgery on the same hand that will keep him out until 2020.
“[The first surgery] went well initially but a week and a half ago I had another [surgery]. The first one wasn’t successful so we had to do another one about 10 days ago. I’m back on the horse starting over again and trying to stay positive,” Smith said.
“The bone, the first metacarpal was completely snapped and displaced. Part of the bone had started peeling back because I kept throwing it during the fight. So they went in and put a plate on it, fixed a lot of the scar tissue and stuff like that,” he added.
“They fixed all that. I don’t know exactly what happened but the bone displaced again and that broke the plate so they had to go in and replace the plate, put in a new one. Take bone graft from my leg so I got two holes drilled in my leg. So it’s been a mess. I was out about four months from the beginning so we kind of restarted that four months a week and a half ago.”
Smith says he intends to be smart with his recovery and won’t push it to the point making it worse, delaying his return a bit more. With an added four months of recovery time, “Lionheart” is eyeing a return in the first quarter of 2020.
“Four months until I can punch again,” Smith said. “We’re looking at January, February, we’ll get the machine fired back up again.”
Prio to defeating Gustafsson, Smith came up short in his bid to dethrone 205-pound champion, Jon Jones, at UFC 235. Despite coming his loss to Jones, Smith proved he is still at the top of the food chain by handling Gustafsson.
Once he returns to action, he could be in for some heavy lifting if he wants to get another crack at “Bones.” Though I’m sure he will be more than up for the task.
Robert Louis Pangilinan is a Filipino sports columnist, reporter and photographer. He is currently employed with Policefiles and Sportsmanila.net. sports beat: basketball, boxing, mma, billiards,marathon and baseball.