“It wasn’t for a lack of effort,” said Smith on the Believe You Me podcast he shares with UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping. “I spent 48 straight hours cutting weight. It wasn’t a lack of effort. No one saw me on the scale looking like I had an additional 20 pounds to lose. I got close, but it wasn’t close enough, and that’s my fault – it’ll never happen again.
“I’ll be the first one on the scale for my next fight. And I’m not a serial weight-misser. It happens, and it wasn’t on purpose. I apologized to everyone that it mattered to.”
Smith, who took the backup job after Hill was pulled from their UFC Vegas 71 fight, came in at 209 pounds, or four pounds over the strict 205-pound limit set for light-heavyweight title fights. It was his first miss on a UFC scale.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 20, 2023
As it turned out, Smith’s services weren’t needed after Hill and Teixeira both made weight, a fact that helped ease tensions with the UFC.
“They weren’t super happy about it, but once the fights went through and everything was fine, everybody was good,” Smith said. “They know that I’m a professional and things happen. I offered no excuses, and that’s on me.”
As far as the why behind the miss, Smith indicated he was on target to make weight before things went off track.
“I can’t even tell you what happened, because no matter what I say, there’s a reason, there’s a lot of s*** that goes on behind the scenes that nobody sees,” he said. “I was in shape, I was really low a couple weeks ago, and s*** happens, and I have no excuses.”
Smith said he was still ready to fight this past Saturday night, just not as a title challenger because he didn’t make championship weight.
Smith’s part-time job as a UFC analyst often puts him at the front lines of controversy over weight-cutting, and he’s not held his tongue about other fighters’ struggles on the scale. He’s previously detailed his own issues with weight while competing in the middleweight class, though he never came in heavy at 185 pounds. He said his experience won’t stop him from holding others accountable.
“I’ve been an absolute a***** about people missing weight,” Smith said. “You’ve got one job: You’ve got to show up on weight. That’s the easiest part of the job, right? So I stand by everything I’ve ever said about everyone else, that you have to make weight, that it’s not an option, and I’ll accept whatever sh*t’s coming my way. It doesn’t change my perspective on anything.
“I’m still going to do it. The next person that misses weight, I’m going to say something about it. Because everyone else is coming at me, they’re in the comments, they’re on Twitter, they’re talking s***. You know what? I’ll eat it. Some s*** happened, I f***** up, I missed weight, I’ll eat that s***. I’ll take that L. It is what it is.”