Bantamweight prospect John Sweeney wasn’t familiar with Cole Smith before accepting their XMMA 4 matchup which is slated to take place Saturday in New Orleans.
“I told my team I wanted like the toughest fight and that was Cole Smith,” Sweeney told The Scrap. “I had no clue who he was but I’ve been studying and watching a lot of his film as of. He’s with (James) Krause now, so I’m assuming his game is a bit different. But I’m really prepared to all of that. But he’s a great opponent out of the guys they sent me. I knew he was going to show up.”
Sweeney (9-3) heads into this matchup on a three-fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeated since a July 2020 TKO loss to current UFC flyweight Cody Durden at NFC 125. The 26-year-old is well aware of Smith’s durability throughout his career but that hasn’t altered his gameplan at all.
“(The gameplan) doesn’t change, everybody knows I’m coming to finish,” Sweeney explained. “Like I’m coming to take your head off and coming to choke you out. Kick them in his legs. But he is tough and very durable. But what I see in his fights is he gets hit a lot in the fights I’ve seen.. He gets cracked, but he recovers very well. But he’s never got hit by a guy like me. He’s getting hit by wrestlers, you know what I mean? I’ve wrestled in high school but I started karate at a young age and I have power to power on both hands so when he gets hit by me he’ll he’ll really see will really see how who he is.”
Smith (7-2) hasn’t competed since a Sept. 2020 unanimous decision setback to Hunter Azure at UFC Vancouver. Following his second straight loss in the Las Vegas based promotion, the UFC released the 32-year-old after just three-fights.
Picking up a victory over a UFC veteran like Smith always looks good on a resume, and that’s why Sweeney believes big things are ahead with a victory on Apr. 2.
“I take Cole Smith out really fast and really exciting and maybe I go right into the UFC,” Sweeney said. “Maybe they still want me to fight a fight on the Contender Series this summer or maybe I jump into the Bellator Grand Prix tournament.”
XMMA 4: Black Magic takes place Apr. 2 at The Fillmore in New Orleans, Louisiana. Former UFC title challenger John Dodson headlines the card against fellow UFC vet Francisco Rivera Jr. in the main event.