Anthony Smith undergoes second surgery to repair broken hand, hopes for January return

Former UFC title challenger Anthony Smith has undergone hand surgery once again.

After he broke his hand against Alexander Gustafsson in Round 2 at UFC on ESPN+ 11 in early June, Smith (32-14 MMA, 8-4 UFC) went under the knife just days later. Professionals told Smith it would take approximately four months in order for him to heal completely. According to Smith, he was looking at a January return.

However, the surgery proved unsuccessful. Approximately 10 days ago, Smith underwent a second surgery.

“About a week-and-a-half ago, I had another hand surgery,” Smith told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “It completely restarted my healing process. The first one wasn’t successful and then (they) had to completely redo it.”

The medical procedure required bone tissue to be taken from Smith’s leg and surgically placed in his hand. The process was more complicated, which requires a longer timetable to recover. However, Smith is still hopeful fight fans will see him back in the cage at the start of 2020.

“They had to take bone grafts from my leg,” Smith said. “That kind of pushes it back, too. I think we’re still looking at that January timeline, but unfortunately I had to completely restart.”

Recently, Smith has been very vocal on social media, calling for fights with Corey Anderson and Jon Jones. With the rest of the top echelon of the division largely booked, Smith sees a positive in believing that his injury happened at a good time.

In the meantime, Smith is happy to be one of the four coaches at Friday’s Kinetic Submission Grappling event. The event takes place at Anaheim Business Expo Center in Anaheim, Calif and streams on UFC Fight Pass starting at 10 p.m. ET.

The grappling event will consist of four teams of five grapplers. The event will be structured in a tournament format, with matchups randomly decided as the event progresses. The other three coaches for the event include BJJ superstar Greg Jones, former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen, and longtime UFC veteran Chris Lytle.

“Obviously I wish I was able to compete,” Smith said. “But because of my hand injury I’m still trying to rehab that. But it’s awesome to stay involved and be a little bit more involved in jiu jitsu. That’s something that the last 18 months I haven’t been able to do as much as I typically have.

“… Being able to be back in the jiu-jitsu world a little bit and staying busy so my mind isn’t completely out of the game. My mind is still working. I’m still coming up with strategies, still coming up with the gameplan. It’s (going to be) a lot of fun.”

The Kenektic event is stacked with notable participants including former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez, former Strikeforce champ Jake Shields, and former Bellator champ Joe Warren, as well as jiu-jitsu wizards Nicky Rodriguez, Edwin Najmi, and Lachian Giles.

Smith, 31, has won four out of his last five UFC bouts. In his last outing, Smith defeated perennial title contender Gustafsson by fourth-round rear-naked choke. The victory placed Smith back in the win column after losing to Jones at UFC 235 in March.

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