Bellator’s Jake Smith: “I’ll Kick Off Dillon Danis’ Face!”
Jake “The Half-Black Attack” Smith (7-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) is a talented prospect competing in the Bellator lightweight division. Hailing from Mancouver, Washington, the twenty-seven year old burst onto the scene with a vicious upset knockout of Steve Kozola at Bellator 193. Smith spoke to MMA Today to talk about his injury troubles, his future in Bellator, his problems with Dillon Danis and more.
Smith first learned about martial arts from television. “You watch Power Rangers, or whatever, and you see guys on TV fighting, so you kind of want to emulate those guys. For me, Power Rangers, Dragon Ball Z, shows like that, they were what got me into martial arts and wanting to learn,” Smith said. “My dad started making me watch Bruce Lee movies, and as time went on, my interest grew for fighting and combat.” Of course, Smith’s favorite Rangers were the Green and White Rangers. When asked why, Smith laughed, “I like the anti-hero.”
With nine professional bouts under his belt, it is clear Jake Smith is at home inside the cage. But that wasn’t always the plan for the Gracie Barra Portland fighter. “My first real love was boxing. I didn’t get into boxing, though, at a young age. I just watched it. I watched a lot of David Tua, the Klitschko brothers; those guys were huge in my household.”
Although he never actively pursued a career in boxing, there was another sport that captivated Smith before MMA: wrestling. “I started wrestling when I was twelve. I really fell in love with it. Originally I knew by the age of eight I wanted to be a fighter. But at the time, I thought it was just boxing; that’s all there was. Then I started wrestling, and I’m falling in love with wrestling.”
That all changed one night when Smith and his father attended a local MMA event. “I get taken to my first mixed martial arts fights, and believe it or not, on the card was Chris Leben, before he became “The Crippler”. I think he had just turned pro.”
“I thought, ‘Cool, you get to punch people in the face and wrestle? This is my sport.'”
Before he made his professional debut, Smith took ten amateur fights. His reasoning for doing so was sound. “I just wanted to develop and make sure I was ready. I didn’t start fighting until I was nineteen, or twenty. I guess there was a little bit of strategy behind it with my early coaches.”
Smith turned pro in 2014, and began working has way up in regional promotions. From Prime Fighting to King of the Cage to Titan FC, Smith proved his mettle in a bid for a big opportunity. That opportunity came knocking one day, and it was none other than Chael Sonnen who shared the news with Smith.
“I get a text from [Gracie Barra Portland head coach] Chael [Sonnen] about the fight – he knew about the fight before I did – and he’s like, ‘this is who it is.’ So I look him up, and I’m like ‘oh (expletive), this guy’s a killer.’ He’s knocking people out. He rattled off three or four wins for Bellator, and they’re all knockouts,” Smith recalls.
While Smith was grateful for the chance to prove himself in the Bellator cage, the matchup intially struck him as odd. “I’m like, ‘wow, they’re throwing me right in,’ because me, my teammates Chris Sunshine and Tyree Fortune – we all got signed the same week. They’re bringing those guys up slowly, but they threw me right into the mix.”
Those feelings of anxiety were certainly palpable, admits Smith. “I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous. But who’s not? You’re fighting another guy who’s training to kick your ass. It’s just like in high school, when someone says ‘hey, we’re meeting after school; we’re gonna fight.’”
Up until the moment I get to the venue, all I do is hope and pray that my opponent pulls out of the fight…😅. It's a fight after school magnified by 10. Cause you have 6-8 weeks to over think the situation. It's a strange lifestyle and profession. #Bellator https://t.co/gboTedIaOv
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) March 26, 2018
Despite his original apprehension, Smith was confident in his abilities. A big reason why, he says, is his preparation. “I train my (expletive) off. Gracie Barra Portland is the team, been kind of under the wing of Chael and Fabiano [Scherner]. I think they see I have the potential to do great things in MMA.”
In particular, Smith says, his training camp before the Kozola fight stands out. “Everything that happened in that fight, that’s exactly what we prepared for. I swear, it’s crazy, the overhand right, everything, that’s what we talked about, and it was all there. Once it happened, it just felt like it already happened before.”
What happened, of course, was a crushing first-round knockout. It stunned much of the MMA world, but not Smith. “I’ve had knockouts where I’ve knocked the guy out and it’s kind of a surprise and you’re running around doing the adrenaline dump scream, but if you watch my reaction for that one, I kind of just walk away and throw my hands up because I just knew that was going to happen.”
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) January 27, 2018
Even thought Smith knew exactly what was going to happen, the oddsmakers seemingly didn’t entering the fight. During fight week, Smith checked in as a +275 underdog. While some would be deterred by such a billing, Smith thrived. “Everyone is doubting me, so this is way easy. He’s fighting in front of his family I’m coming into enemy territory. I don’t give a (expletive).”
“It’s nice to be an underdog, I actually like it.”
It’s good that he’s taken it in stride, as Smith been in the underdog role far too often. But just because he’s succeeding in the face of his doubters, that doesn’t mean he forgives them. “I felt like I got no respect, either. A lot of people didn’t even know I was fighting. I was on the card with both the Fortune brothers, so they’re getting a little more spotlight and stuff, and I’m just a dude there.
I have a chip on my shoulder. There’s no doubt about that; I will not downplay it at all. I’m one of those guys were if you say something, I will remember it, and I’m gonna make sure I use it against you,” says Smith.
#Tbt to when 51% of the people were wrong 🤷, if you weren't backing me then don't come around me smiling now. I remember everything and everyone who has supported me. Went from unknown to top 20 in Bellators light weight division. #Bellator #BellatorNation #Mma #HeUnderestimatedMe #57Seconds #SummerReturn #Top20 #NextTop10 #chiponmyshoulder #Warlord
Doubters aren’t the only ones to draw Smith’s ire. Two fellow Bellator fighters irk Smith… a lot. The first name out of Smith’s mouth is a fighter yet to make his Bellator (or MMA) debut. “There’s that (expletive) Dillon Danis guy. I don’t like him at all. He runs his mouth. Which is fine, alright, promote yourself. But when you’re doing it of the [back] of a guy who has made millions doing that, now you’re kind of a (expletive).”
In particular, one of the things that bothers Smith is the constant wars of words between him and Danis’ fans. “Here’s what makes me mad too: Dillon Danis has these little fanboys who start coming at me, tweeting at me, or messaging me on Instagram, and it’s like, name one accomplishment Dillon Danis has done besides be Conor McGregor’s partner? I’d never heard of him outside of Conor McGregor.
Sure, he’s done some Submission Underground – I think he lost – then he did another grappling match, I think he lost there, too! What has he done that makes him this big commodity other than run his mouth, bleach his hair, and jerk off Conor McGregor?”
I wanna know real quick, how many people actually know of @dillondanis from his ACCOMPLISHMENTS and not for his dick sucking of Conor McThrowDollys?! I'll fucking wait… you bums
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) April 13, 2018
As for whether or not Smith would move back up to 170 pounds to take the fight with Danis, Smith didn’t hesitate. “ I’ll jump up to 170 again; I’ll beat up Dillon Danis just for the (expletive) of it. That’s the thing. I would (expletive) him up. It’s not even funny. Him, “Baby Slice”, I would (expletive)-slap both of them. Same night. I will drop down to 155, make weight, slap “Baby Slice” around, go recover for thirty minutes and come back and kick off Dillon Danis’ face.”
“I would beat his ass.”
The second fighter to earn Smith’s scorn is Kevin Ferguson Jr., aka “Baby Slice.” Smith points out Ferguson Jr.’s lack of fights in concrete weight divisions. “Every single one of his fights is at catchweight. He’s afraid to cut weight! He’s a little (expletive), too!”
Hey big head 😏 @kimboslicejr. What ya doing in April… how's Chicago sound? @MikeKoganMMA @rich_chou @BellatorMMA @IridiumSports #Mma #Bellator #CantProtectYouForever #IwantThatBKMoney #BabySpice #SpiceGirlsReunion
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) February 1, 2018
One commonality between both Danis and “Slice”, says Smith, is the way they claimed their fame. “I put in hours and years into this, and you guys are just making it off of other people’s names? Straight up, that’s why they’re there: two other people’s names.”
“They have all this hype based on two names: Conor McGregor and Kimbo Slice.”
“I don’t care if people are doing good or whatever, but if you haven’t earned it, it just sits wrong with me. Hey, they got all these fans and (expletive), well cool, let me walk in there, beat their (expletive), and I’ll steal all their fans.”
One of the reasons why Smith has to resort to calling out the fighters, rather than fulfilling his goals of actually fighting them, is a difficult injury. “Lately I’ve just been really pissed off. I think it has to do with me being injured and just having to sit back and watching people making money who don’t deserve it.”
Smith also described the circumstances surrounding the injury and his potential timeline for a return. “During the fight you’ll notice I threw a couple of the kicks. One of the kicks, I felt this weird pop. What ended up happening – I don’t know if it’s completely torn or if it’s a minor tear – but, yeah, it’s in my hip. Right now, I’ve already met with two specialists, I’m going to see a third one in Seattle, and I have no idea what my timeframe is. They said it could be about three months, which isn’t too bad, but it’s not ideal.”
May need surgery according to the doctor… MRI next week 😧. pic.twitter.com/wfR2KZudD7
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) February 22, 2018
As for why the timeline is unfortunate, Smith goes into detail. “It’s not ideal, because there’s a lot of guys I want to fight right now. I want to fight everybody.” Of course, there’s both Danis and “Baby Slice”. But Saad Awad and Derek Anderson are also on Smith’s list of potential opponents.
“I had my sights set on Saad Awad. He’s a top ten guy for Bellator. Stylistically, he’s a good fight, but I have no animosity against that guy. I’m a nobody, he doesn’t know who I am, he’s probably gonna be like, ‘I don’t want to fight this dude, I’m right next to a title shot.’ But I would love to fight him.”
As for Anderson, the two’s paths almost crossed when Anderson was slated to face Michael “Venom” Page, who was subsequently pulled from the fight. “When he was supposed to fight ‘Venom’ Page a while ago, I threw my hat in the mix to get that fight. I had my visa, I’m in the middle of a camp for another fight; a local show. I was like, ‘I can make 170 right now, I’m ready to go; let’s do this.’ Obviously it didn’t happen, I don’t know why. I wouldn’t mind fighting him either.”
“He’s fought two of my teammates already. I think both of them beat him up, so might as well make it a third.”
While Awad resides in the Bellator lightweight division – like Smith does – the trio of Danis, Anderson, and Ferguson Jr. all fight in higher weight classes. That’s not a mistake on Smith’s part. He’s fought both welterweight and lightweight in his career, and he detailed some of what his future plans are for at what weight he plans to fight.
Don't think for a second I wouldn't jump back up to 170 and punch this dude in the mouth. If I'm offered a fight and I'm healthy then we are fighting. Weight don't matter. I like to eat 🙊🥞🍔🍰 https://t.co/1Azgc3kvGR
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) March 20, 2018
“I’m not big for either weight class. I’m a tiny 170, and I’m maybe average for 155,” Smith admits.
“I made my 155 debut against Steve for Bellator. That’s what my contract is under. I enjoyed it. It’s definitely not the easiest cut; it’s not fun. But when you’re dialed in, and you take your nutrition serious… when it came time to fight I felt ready.
155 is the weight class I belong in. But don’t think for a second that I won’t jump back up to 170. I’m faster than most 155ers and 170ers, and when I hit you, it’s just different,” Smith says, issuing a warning to his fellow fighters.
“That was the best I felt and I think 155 is where I belong.”
Left: 160lbs, Look and feel like death Right: 155lbs, Healthy and Happy. The difference between the 2 pics are I had my good pal @scottplested help monitor my nutrition for this camp. By far the easiest cut of my life. Now I just need to shave my chest and find a tanning bed for the next one 😂. #LightWeight #nutritionist #PlestedFit #Bellator #57Seconds #155 #Mma #WeightCutDick #ItsARealProblem #Dont@Me
Even though Smith has been unable to compete, he stays focused on the sport by following the exploits his friends and teammates. Smith’s closest teammate is his longtime friend and “brother,” Ricky Simon, who was just signed to the UFC. “He’s with the UFC, so I officially hate him now. We’re no longer friends: I’m a Bellator guy; he’s a UFC guy,” Smith jokes.
“No, that’s my brother. Me and him, we started out wrestling together. I actually got him into fighting. He wasn’t going to fight, and I remember when he first started fighting, as amateurs, he was like, ‘yeah, this is cool, but I don’t know if I really want to go pro, I don’t know if this is for me’. I said, ‘shut up, dude. You’re going pro. We’re both going pro, you’re stupid.’”
Smith reflects on how unlikely the pair of childhood friends’ successes really are. “I always knew he was gonna make it to the big show. You know, it’s a surreal thing. We both started out from a very small town of Mancouver, Washington. Not very many people even know Mancouver, Washington, and we’re in the two top promotions in the sport.”
If you follow Smith on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll understand this next quote. If you don’t follow him on Twitter or Instagram, you might want to start (hint: he’s hilarious). “It’s a vent. I’m real, 100%. Nothing is thought out, it’s not like, ‘Oh, this is going to get people talking about me.’ Honestly, I’m one of those people that should probably have their social media taken away. I’m a very opinionated guy. I just see so much stupid (expletive), and I just get mad,” he says.
Ultimately, Smith’s motives for fighting resonate with everybody. “I would love to be the champion one day, but I’m more into this for the money, to be honest. I just want to be happy. I just want to be fat and happy one day and be able to relax. That’s my ultimate goal, to be fat and happy.”
As for who gets to be a part of that future, Smith says the time is now to join the team. “In two years, I’m gonna be a household name. That’s the facts. Within two years, everyone’s going to know who I am. It’s just a matter of time. If you’re not on the bandwagon now, in two years, you missed the train.”
You got 2 years to jump on this band wagon mother fuckers. 2020 I ain't accepting no new fans. #BetterAskSomebody
— Jack Smith (@UberSmitty) January 28, 2018
It’s clear that Jake Smith has a bright future in martial arts. The twenty-seven year old trains at an elite gym with high-level partners, and he has an impressive resume to his name already. But what sets Smith apart from the pack is his unique personality and his proclvitiy to keep things real.
“I’m brash and I’m good at violence. Put those two things together… you have the starting ingredients of creating a star.”
Smith has been very clear that the window is closing to become a fan. With his proclamation that he’ll be a household name in two years, the time to get on the hype train is now. Whether he faces Awad, Anderson, “Baby Slice”, or even his nemesis, Dillon Danis, Smith is sure to continue his upward ascent in the Bellator ranks. Make sure to keep an eye out for Jake Smith as he heals up from his hip injury.
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