On an already loaded UFC 241 card sat a preliminary fight between a young up-and-comer with speed and finishing ability and a wily veteran with 16 UFC fights.
Smith versus Makdessi was a sleeper pick for fight of the night - that is until Makdessi pulled out of the fight with an injury. The injury happened shortly before the UFC headed to Newark nearly two weeks ago, giving the UFC plenty of time to find a replacement. Ultimately Smith would be booked with Clay Collard, and then with Kharma Worthy after Collard pulled out.
But the real story happens just after the aforementioned UFC Newark card. When Nasrat Haqparast put his name on the map by violently knocking out Dong Hyun Ma, Makdessi took to social media asking for a fight with Haqparast. Just over a week from what would have been his scheduled fight at UFC 241, Smith did not take too kindly to this.
“He’s sweet - if I’m being straight up, he’s sweet,” Smith said “I already acknowledged that to him on Twitter and Instagram. I tagged him and everything. He came up with some little excuse, and that’s what it is, it’s an excuse.”
Not only did Smith question the mentality of Makdessi, but he also pointed out that he broke the unwritten rules of dropping out of a right - primarily the ones regarding being quiet.
“It’s an excuse. It’s not a reason because when you pull out of a fight due to injury, you’re supposed to be quiet,” Smith said. “Nobody supposed to hear from you.”
Smith did then offer one way that you could talk after pulling out of a fight, but that clearly didn’t apply to Makdessi.
“The only thing we should hear from you is ‘surgery went great - heeling up’ you know?” he said. “That’s all we’re supposed to hear.”
With all of this happening Smith questioned the pull out even further, hinting that Makdessi doesn’t want to fight Smith. Although if Smith has his way, Makdessi will have little choice.
“You’re out here calling someone else out, the week before we’re supposed to fight?” Smith said. “That’s just letting me know that you don’t want that work, and you’re going to get this work.”
And when asked if he is looking for the Makdessi fight after this weekend’s bout, the answer was predictable as ever.
“Yup! Because he’s sweet!”