Rejuvenated and Sober Louis Smolka Looking for UFC Return

Louis Smolka
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 30: Louis Smolka prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his flyweight bout against Matheus Nicolau of Brazil during the UFC 219 event inside T-Mobile Arena on December 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

2018 has been a good year for Louis Smolka. “Da Last Samurai” won the CXF flyweight title this weekend after a second-round TKO victory over Kyle Estrada.

Smolka spent over 20 seconds delivering vicious ground and pound from full mount. Estrada survived the round but could not get to his stool, causing the referee to wave off the contest.

The win marked Smolka’s third straight since a four-fight losing streak that saw him cut by the UFC, where he had spent 10 bouts. The rejuvenated Smolka said he’s taking his job as a martial artist seriously again.

“I love the sport again,” he told MMASucka. “I’ve been to my first karate class when I was five years old. I’ve been doing it pretty consistently since I was about seven. That was when I first learned how to do armbars, rear naked chokes. Me and my friends would grapple in backyards and it was fun. This is the thing that I have fun doing and enjoy doing. I stress about winning, losing, cutting weight just like everybody else but at the end of the day, as soon as it’s done I can’t wait to do it again.”

Resolving his Drinking Problems

Smolka doesn’t know the exact point where he fell out of love with the sport, but he said he battled an issue where he was drinking every day.

“It stopped being about fighting, getting better as a martial artist, blending the arts, trying to push as far as you could go,” he admitted. “It was about what could I get away with and still drink that night or after practice. I don’t know exactly when that happened. Once I got sober and stuff, I definitely realized, ‘Oh man, that was fucked up.’”

He credits his manager, Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency, and gym Team Oyama as positive forces in his life that helped him stop drinking after he moved to California.

“Not drinking kind of gave me clarity,” Smolka said.

He’s been sober since early January, which puts him at over 10 months of success. He had just suffered his fourth straight UFC loss late in December 2017 to Matheus Nicolau. Despite his losses coming to other tough competitors like Brandon Moreno and former UFC title challengers Tim Elliott and Ray Borg (who missed weight by 3.5 lbs), Smolka was released. At the time, he held dominant wins over Ben Nguyen, Paddy Holohan, Neil Seery and Richie Vaculik.   

Smolka wants to get back to testing himself against high-level competition and make his return to the UFC. Once there, he wants to get back to winning against the best and avenge his losses.

“I’d like to fight for the belt,” he said. “I think I can get it the way the flyweight division looks now. I would need to run as far as I could, knowing fully in my heart that I gave everything that I had.”

Smolka’s Options

A UFC return could happen sooner than later, as Smolka said the UFC may lean towards him as a late replacement if the promotion needs one. Or he may have to wait until the next roster purge and re-stock.

But in the meantime, Smolka said he would be down to defend his CXF flyweight title or attempt to capture other promotions’ flyweight gold. Whatever pays the best.

“Honestly, I kinda need the money at this point,” he said. “These regional promotions, they don’t really pay as good as the UFC. It’s been awhile since I was in there and money’s kind of tight right now, so I need to do what’s going to get me paid, you know?”

Bellator’s debut in Hawaii is something that’s piqued Smolka’s interest. The promotion will be doing back-to-back shows on December 14 and 15 in Smolka’s native state. He’d just need to make sure the contract would work for him before committing.

“I would love to fight on those but I’d like to see the contract first to see how it goes because I don’t want to get shelved or anything,” Smolka said. “I’d like for the contract to work for me, but I’d definitely like to [compete at Bellator Hawaii]. We just have to talk business, that’s what I’m saying. Call me up guys, let me know. I’m down to talk.”

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