Elijah Smith Eyes UFC Contender Series Fight After Father’s Day KO at Fury FC 92

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Photo courtesy of Fury Fighting Championship

Elijah Smith (6-1 MMA) took another stride toward following his father’s footsteps when he knocked out Josh Walker at Fury FC 92 on Sunday. It was fitting when he used his mic time to shout out his father, UFC veteran, Gilbert Smith, after his victory on Father’s Day.

“It meant a lot, because it’s a special day,” Elijah Smith told MMASucka. “What better can I do than go out and put on a beautiful performance like I did and just showcase all of the hard work that we put in together? It was a very special moment. Very special.”

Smith finished Walker with a left hand followed by elbows and hammer fists 1:44 into their bantamweight bout. Smith said the game plan was to use his size advantage, pressure Walker and land calf kicks right away. Smith stung Walker with a jab early in the fight and knew his power would pose an issue for his opponent.

“The first jab that I actually – and I wasn’t able to get full range on it, and I have a contusion on my knuckle from that first jab that I dropped him with,” Smith said. “As soon as I landed it, it was so stiff, I was like, ‘Oh, this is gonna get bad.’ There was another quick jab that a lot of people didn’t catch. He went jab to the head and jab to the body. Right when he was going to go for a jab to the body, I countered it with another jab, and I saw it in his eyes that it didn’t daze him but I knew it stunned him. From there, I knew I was starting to find my range and I was creeping up closer and closer and closer. As soon as I felt I was in range, I was actually surprised about the punch that landed that dropped him. It looked like I barely touched him. Sometimes it’s not about how hard you punch, it’s the spot you hit him at. And it was the right spot.”

Walker was 8-1 entering the fight, with 85% of Tapology users picking him to defeat Smith.

While Smith entered the bout at 5-1, with three less wins, he feels his strength of schedule was superior to Walker’s. Smith said his first three professional fights were “tough as hell” on paper.

Roger Smith was 3-1 as an amateur when he and Smith made their professional debuts. Elijah knocked out Roger 10 seconds into the third round.

“I fought another guy who fought on the same card on Sunday,” Smith said. “His name is Christian Strong. “He’s 7-1 [currently]. He actually beat [Dana White Contender Series alumnus] Cameron Smotherman. I went out there and I knocked Christian Strong out in the first round, as well, similar to what had happened this past weekend. I also faced another tough guy in Reyes Cortez.”

Cortez won the fight by T/KO – Smith’s first and only loss.

“Having these fights coming up and getting these tough fights out of the way, I think it made [the Walker] fight super easy,” Smith said. “I fought another undefeated prospect, Robert Trujillo. He was on Dana White’s Slap Fight. I went out there and took his ‘0’ away. Coming into this fight, I had a lot of confidence. I’ve been around experience. When I fought Cortez, he was coming off the Dana White Contender Series. So I already got a taste of the next level.”

Smith said with “all respect” to Walker, he doesn’t think Walker was on his level.

“It’s kind of hard to really see it that way, because he had the bigger record, but like I said, when you compare the opponents that we’ve faced, I’ve faced tougher opponents than he has,” Smith said. “He has yet to feel that next level. I’m the closest he’s felt to that next level. He’s going to grow and learn from, this just as well as I did when I fought Cortez. You grow and learn from it. There wasn’t anything that I saw in his previous fights while we were gearing up for this fight where I was like, ‘Oh man, I should probably watch out for that.’ We knew we were going to come in, put the pressure on him. I knew I was the bigger guy, because he fought at 125 before. So I knew we were going to come in and just be a bully, really, and establish our dominance.”

Smith said the game plan is to make it to the UFC, like his father before him. Gilbert Smith reached the UFC off of The Ultimate Fighter, but Elijah is planning another route.

“I know they’ve been putting a lot of hype behind this Josh Walker kid,” he said. “He’s a very talented kid, and just to see what I was able to do and how I was able to dismantle him in the first minute and 40 seconds of the fight. I mean, at some point, they’ve got to start either putting me in title contention or if I don’t get a call up to the Contender Series, something has to happen.”

The Contender Series is Smith’s “quickest path” to the UFC, he said. While Smith is only 21 years old, he said promotions are already having issues finding opponents for him.

“We’re at that point right now. I feel like I’m where I need to be. I’ve never been the one to rush the process, but I feel like physically and mentally, I’m where I need to be to get to the next level.”

Smith believes his win over Walker should be enough to get him a fight on the Contender Series this year. If not, then one more win should do it, he feels.

“It’s all in God’s hands. When the time comes, the time will come and I’ll be ready for it,” he said.

Smith said he has no insight as to whether or not his next fight will be for the Contender Series after speaking with his manager, Jason House, at Iridium Sports Agency.

But Smith feels his performance against Walker shows he is ready for a step up.

“I truly believe this performance that I put on, I went into this fight and came out of it as if I didn’t even fight,” he said. “If you saw me on the side of the road walking to the corner doing something, you would have never known I had a fight. That’s how clean this fight was for me. That’s how on point I was. How calculated, how focused, how strong. Weight cut went great. Rehydration went great. Executing the game plan. Training camp was great. What more can I say?”

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!