Anthony Smith insists there’s no personal beef with UFC champ Alex Pereira

Anthony Smith says there’s no rivalry between him and UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira.

Smith and Pereira (10-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) had choice words for each other stemming from “Lionheart” questioning if Pereira’s size would play a factor at light heavyweight.

That caused Pereira to go off on Smith, who was baffled by his reaction. The former title challenger initially welcomed the rivalry but now not so much.

“That’s 100 percent it: He’s got something I want,” Smith told MMA Junkie. “That’s it. There’s no beef. Personally from what I understand and from everything I’ve seen in the back and stuff, he seems like a pretty fun and pretty funny guy. He’s got a good sense of humor. I think in an alternate universe we would probably be friends and have a good time hanging out.”

Smith (37-19 MMA, 12-9 UFC) meets Vitor Petrino (11-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 301 (Pay-per-view/ESPN/ESPN+) main card at Rio Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

Smith almost crossed paths with Pereira who’s also in Rio, but the UFC prevented that from happening.

“I heard all the commotion (with Daniel Cormier and Alex Pereira wrestling in the hallway),” Smith said. “Really funny, I was in my media day and of course they ask me questions and I talk about Alex, then I walk out of the media day room and there’s like three security guards, and they’re like, ‘OK, we’ve got to walk you over here.’

“I was like, ‘That’s weird.’ But I have my best friend and my boxing coach and my jiu-jitsu coach and we’re just talking and I was like, ‘That was weird. There wasn’t security with me this whole time.’ I thought maybe Vitor (Petrino) was standing over there and my boxing coach is like, ‘You’re an idiot, Alex Pereira was right there.’ I didn’t see him at all.”

Smith has been critical of Pereira’s overall skillset in the past, so he understands why the UFC would rather they didn’t come across each other.

“For sure (security was just taking precautions),” Smith said. “Just making sure that nothing happens. I’m a professional. I don’t have any beef with Alex. He doesn’t like what I have to say all the time, but I don’t think there’s an actual beef there.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 301.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie