During his long run as Bellator’s color commentator, Jimmy Smith was often seen as the promotion’s version of his UFC counterpart, Joe Rogan, but now that he’s also joined the same company, Smith has been keen to assure fans that he’s not superseding the fan favorite.
“I’m not replacing Joe Rogan,” Smith told BloodyElbow.com. “Joe is still active with the UFC this year, so it’s not like I’m coming in and he’s leaving. The other thing I want to address is that people have some idea that I was somehow pushed out by Mauro [Ranallo] and Goldie [Mike Goldberg], that signing them kind of pushed me out. … Nobody pushed me out of Bellator and I’m not pushing anybody out of the UFC.”
In fact, Smith says it’s possible that he and Rogan could find themselves in the commentary booth together.
“[The UFC] are doing three-man booths frequently, which they didn’t do before, so something like Anik, me and Joe is certainly a possibility. It’s all up to the UFC on how they want to use me, but I’m down for anything.”
Smith’s new role will require him to do more than just call live fights though.
“The way it’s laid out is that I can do standup stuff in terms of the FOX studio offerings, I can do features like their Top 10 Knockouts kind of thing, commentary—everything is laid out, and it says, ‘We can use you for anything we want,’ and I went, ‘Great!’”
During the interview, Smith was also asked to give his assessment of the differences between the roster of fighters over at Bellator compared with the UFC, and his answer was that it’s all about strength-in-depth.
“What the UFC has that Bellator doesn’t is real depth in their divisions. There’s 10-15 guys/ladies in every division that are top level competitors. Past the Top 5 in Bellator, you start having problems. To make a Top 10 in Bellator, around Number 8, you start running out of people. The elite fighters are good, but they have real problems with depth.”