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Anthony Smith Discusses Knee Injury; Targets Jan Blachowicz Fight In Early 2022

Anthony Smith was recently forced out of a rematch with Aleksander Rakic at the end of the year due to a knee injury, and he’s detailed the full extent of the damage in a new interview.

“I knew that there was something going on with my knee,” Smith explained on The MMA Hour. “I didn’t know how bad it was. I’ve been kind of dealing with it for a little while anyways, over probably the last five fights. Like I haven’t been able to run in training camp at all. We’ve had to kind of work my strength and conditioning around my knee. I kind of tweaked it in the fight when I was taking Ryan Spann’s back, but I didn’t want to take the hook out and lose the position. So I just left it in there, I kind of heel-hooked myself essentially and tore my LCL (lateral collateral ligament). It wasn’t a complete tear.

“We did stem cells, we did PRP injections. Thought I was going to be down for eight weeks, not a big deal. But because I already had other knee problems, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to go in, clean out a lot of the cobwebs and cartilage and scar tissue. Just a lot of the problems I’ve been having with it. It wasn’t going to extend my time off anymore because that’s about a month in itself. It’s early enough that it wouldn’t have extended it anymore.”

“Long story short, I end up having a lot more problems after the scope and got staph infection in the joint,” Smith revealed. “Now I’m on IV antibiotics for another month, then I have to go back in.

“It was a disaster. For a routine, regular two or three days down and back on my feet. That was two and a half, three weeks ago that I had the original scope. I think three weeks ago. I just now go off crutches two days ago.”

The former 205lb title contender, who is currently on a three-fight winning streak, says the setbacks have left him without a precise date for full recovery, but he’s looking to get back into the Octagon at some stage in the early months of next year.

“I’m not 100 percent sure [when I can return]. I went from the original injury to the injections then the scope and then now the washout. Now I start rehab tomorrow. Because there’s a lot of atrophy. My left leg is significantly larger than my right leg.

“I’m going to have to battle back from that a little bit. I’d guess February, March, April maybe.”

As for a potential opponent at that stage, Smith says he’s eyeing a potential fight with the man who has just lost his grip on the light-heavyweight title, Jan Blachowicz.

“I’m kind of liking this Jan Blachowicz fight,” Smith said. “[The UFC] brought it to me that night. He wants to fight again. He wants to fight soon. I’m not crazy injured. I’m just dealing with a little stuff, infections, so I mean as long as we can get this infection cleared up, I don’t think February’s out of the question.

“I love that fight. I like that guy. I want the Rakic fight. I want that back. But I don’t think he wants to wait, which is fine, if he wants to go on and fight someone else, that’s fine as well. I like the Jan Blachowicz fight.”

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