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Smith Down with Interim Tag with Le Out

Written by Tom Ngo
June 3rd, 2009
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Soft-spoken Scott Smith is known for his class as much as he is for his heavy hands. Although he rarely tells others how to do their jobs, Smith is anxious to wrap a belt around his waist and would like for Strikeforce to do something about it.

“The 185-pound weight class, I think, is the most stacked weight class in Strikeforce,” Smith said. “The champion’s not fighting, so [Strikeforce] has got to do something about it. Whether it’s me or (Robbie) Lawler (that) fights Cung Le or me and Lawler fight for an interim belt, something’s got to happen. We’ve got to get a belt out there going at 185 (pounds).”

Le, Strikeforce’s reigning middleweight king, defeated Frank Shamrock for the strap in March of 2008, but has been on-set ever since. The former kickboxer’s budding acting career has pushed mixed martial arts to the side and, as expected, the other top dogs are getting antsy having to wait around.

“[Le] is the champion, and I know he’s busy and he’s got things going on, but we’ve got to do something,” Smith expressed. “Maybe get an interim belt going on. We can’t just sit around and wait forever.”

At 16-5, Smith doesn’t believe he is deserving of first dibs at an interim spot, but he and Lawler, the former EliteXC 185-pound champ, should certainly be in the conversation.

“I definitely think I’m in line for one of the top fights,” Smith said. “But I do understand timing is everything for fights. Lawler’s last two fights were against me. I have won two fights since then, but I do understand if I’ve got to wait in line and wait my turn.”

Both Smith and Lawler will be in action at Strikeforce’s “Lawler vs. Shields” event on June 6th. The two will also be fighting in catchweight bouts as Lawler meets Jake Shields at 182-pounds, and Smith will face Nick Diaz at 180.

With all four fighters capable of competing at 185-lbs., a lot of questions will be answered regarding Strikeforce’s middleweight division come Saturday evening.

“Especially after this card, there’s going to be some guys deserving of that title,” Smith said. “[Le] is definitely the champion. He’s unbeaten. Hopefully I get the chance someday to test myself against him.”

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