UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith is willing to do just about anything to reserve a spot in the UFC Fight Night event that takes place on Aug. 25 in his home state of Nebraska.
He'll even fight a heavyweight if he must.
Smith (29-13) grew up just outside Lincoln and fought there as an amateur. Coming off a first-round knockout of Rashad Evans in early June, he figured he'd be an obvious addition to the UFC's summer event in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
But Smith says the UFC is having a hard time finding him an opponent. And with tickets going on sale this week, he's extending an invitation to opponents outside his weight class.
"You got a heavyweight? I'll fight him," Smith told ESPN. "I honestly think people don't believe me when I say I will fight anyone. Name a heavyweight and I'll call him out on social media right now. That might be my next move, actually. I'll come in at 220 pounds, no problem."
It's an aggressive offer, considering Smith isn't even a massive light heavyweight. He's actually fought the majority of his career as a 185-pound middleweight.
Smith understands, however, how rare the opportunity is to fight in his home state. He's not from California or Nevada. The UFC doesn't visit Lincoln every year.
"When is the UFC going to come to Nebraska again?" Smith asked. "When is the last time they came, 2012? That's six years. I'm almost 30. Who knows if I'll be fighting in six years. This may be, legitimately, my last chance to fight in Nebraska in the UFC."
There is one light heavyweight who has answered Smith's call, and that is Devin Clark (9-2). Clark has actually made it known on multiple occasions that he wants the fight, but according to Smith, the UFC doesn't like the matchup.
"Everybody in the division either won't fight or isn't available," Smith said. "Devin Clark is the only guy who wants it. He's basically begging for it. I don't know what the holdup is. It's not like I'm even ranked, so what's the holdup? Two unranked guys.
"It just doesn't sound like that's the direction the UFC wants to go. There aren't any options. I know [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard is working really hard; he just can't get a yes from who they want."
So to help out the UFC, Smith says, he's casting a wider net. If there's any light heavyweight or heavyweight willing to make a summer trip to Lincoln, speak up.
"A week ago, I was pretty optimistic, but now it's coming to crunch time," Smith said. "There are guys who already don't want to take it on six weeks' notice, saying that's not enough time to prepare. If guys are worried about that now, what's it going to be like a week from now?"