Anthony Smith was anxiously awaiting his opportunity to fight again this year but now the former UFC title contender will have to wait until 2020 to book his return to the UFC.
Following a submission victory over Alexander Gustafsson back in June, Smith was forced to undergo surgery to repair a badly broken hand that he suffered during the fight.
At the time, Smith expected to be sidelined for approximately four months with hopes that he could then return to action somewhere near the end of 2019.
Unfortunately, Smith revealed on Tuesday that he was forced to undergo a second hand surgery just recently that will delay his planned return to the Octagon.
“[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 when speaking to MMA Fighting on Tuesday.
“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. 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 was initially scheduled to compete in a grappling competition this weekend at the first ever Kinektic Grappling event, which features four teams of athletes led by fighters such as Chael Sonnen and Chris Lytle.
Sadly because of the second surgery on his hand, Smith will no longer take part in the grappling competition but he will still serve as team captain for the show airing on UFC Fight Pass on Friday.
“Unfortunately for this event I’m just the team captain. Initially we thought maybe my hand would be OK by this time and then as we started setting all this up is when we realized that my hand rebroke again,” Smith explained. “They made an exception for me because I was already a team captain putting my team together that because of the injury I could just be the team captain and I was able to get five guys for the grappling part of it.
“I’m really disappointed I can’t be in this one but I’ll definitely be in the next one. That’s for sure.”
With his own black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Smith is committed to the new grappling promotion co-founded by UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber and he hopes to work with them again in the future.
“I think we’re going to pull a lot of eyes on this and really keep this organization going and really grow it,” Smith said.
As far as his timeline for fighting again, Smith is going to take all the necessary precautions to prevent any further damage to his hand so it can heal properly and no longer cause him any issues when he gets back into training.
Smith had already planned on taking the summer off to spend time with his family after an extremely busy 2018 with two fights already on the books for 2019 as well.
“I had to do me this summer. This summer was for my kids and my fiancée because they deserved it. It’s time to get back to work now. I’m going to put my head down and get back involved,” Smith said.
“I need to be smart about my recovery and make sure I’m not doing anything I shouldn’t be doing and pushing it when it’s not ready. Fortunately, I put myself in a position where I can sit as long as I need but you know me, I’m not going to sit any longer than I have to. That’s for damn sure.”
With four more months of recovery time required after this second surgery, Smith is now plotting an early 2020 return to action as he continues to pursue another shot at the light heavyweight title.
“Four months until I can punch again,” Smith said. “We’re looking at January, February, we’ll get the machine fired back up again.”