There aren’t many situations where UFC lightweight Devonte Smith would find himself starstruck. During this week’s UFC 234 fight preparations in Melbourne, Australia, however, Smith can almost guarantee he’ll be in awe.
Just three fights in the bout order separate the 25-year-old Ohioan from a hero of his. While Smith will be headlining the ESPN portion of the evening, MMA legend Anderson Silva competes in the co-main event slot.
It’s safe to say Smith is excited to run into “The Spider.”
“Usually when I see other fighters, I see them as normal people, because that’s who they are,” Smith told FloCombat. “But if I see Anderson Silva, I’m going to have to pull him to the side to get that picture, man.
“That’s somebody I [have] Iooked up to since starting. His style, his confidence, and the way he finishes fights — I’m gonna have to get that picture. I’m gonna try not to be star struck and hold it down, but I’m gonna have to get it.”
After the excitement of meeting the greatest middleweight in MMA history fades, Smith will turn his attention back to the task at hand: his opponent, Dong Hyun Ma.
“He’s just another obstacle,” Smith said. “There’s nothing much else I can really say about him. I don’t look much into my opponents. I look at what I need to look at and then I just focus on myself. I just focus on what I need to focus on, which is me.”
Leaving his options open, Smith doesn’t want to predict exactly how the fight will play out, though he does see one common outcome.
“Only prediction I have is that I’m gonna win,” Smith said. “I’m gonna take what he gives me. Submission? I’m gonna take it. TKO? I’m gonna take it. Knockout? I’m gonna take it. If it’s a decision? I’m gonna take it.”