At UFC Charlotte, Johnny Walker emerged as the clear victor after his fight with Anthony Smith, causing Smith to remove his gloves in a gesture that suggested he was considering retirement. Despite his loss, Walker expressed that he didn’t believe Smith should retire as he still has potential to continue fighting. He suggested that Smith could consider fighting until he was around 36 years old.
Smith, who is currently 34 years old, was visibly upset after his defeat and held his gloves in his hands as the decision was announced. He did not make a post-fight speech or attend the press conference. UFC President, Dana White, mentioned during the presser that Smith wanted some time to consider his decision before making it final. Smith had previously suffered a TKO defeat due to an ankle injury in a fight against Magomed Ankalaev, making this his second consecutive loss.
During the fight with Walker, Smith’s left lead leg endured numerous kicks, leading to concerns about his ability to continue fighting. However, he managed to make it to the end of the bout despite taking a flying knee and punches near the end. Following the fight, Walker approached light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill in the audience and asked for a rematch. Smith had hoped to secure a title shot through victory over Walker.
Walker expressed sadness regarding Smith’s symbolic retirement gesture, acknowledging the significance of the decision for an athlete. Nonetheless, he viewed Smith’s career as being established and successful, given that he had already fought for the belt and established his legacy. In contrast, Walker is focused on building his own legacy and has now won his last three fights since his defeat by Hill in 2022.