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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Undefeated Cole Smith has started to only get his feet wet in the UFC, but he has big aspirations.
Smith takes on Miles Johns at UFC on ESPN+ 16 for an opportunity to fight very close to home. With former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre currently retired, and former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald currently at Bellator, Smith hopes to lead the way for the new wave of Canadian fighters in the UFC.
When asked who he thinks is the next UFC champion to come out of Canada, Smith said he hopes it will be him.
“There’s a lot of good fighters coming out of Canada that are in the UFC right now, but to be honest at the top of my head, I can’t name any,” Smith told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at open workouts. “Other than, like you said, besides myself, let’s face it: I’m the next guy in line. I know I’m only 1-0, but we’re getting there. We’re climbing the ladder.”
Smith (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) stepped in on short notice for his UFC debut, defeating Mitch Gagnon via unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN+ 9. He will face Dana White’s Contender Series alum Johns on Saturday in a matchup that he saw coming.
“I was actually in Las Vegas, and I was at the Contender (Series) show, and I watched him fight live,” Smith said. “So I kind of hand an idea of how he performed and how he fought, and yeah I watched some of his fights after that, and I kind of had a feeling I’d be fighting him. I don’t know why, but I just kind of had a feeling, and here we are.”
He’s taking on a fellow undefeated fighter in Johns and certainly won’t be underestimating him.
“He’s 10-0, so it’s hard not to be impressed,” Smith said, “but these guys are the best in the world, so everybody’s good, and I’m impressed with everybody.”
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