UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Leslie Smith picked up a hard-earned win over Amanda Bell at Bellator 245, then set her sights on two of the women’s featherweight division’s biggest names.
Former UFC bantamweight title challenger Cat Zingano (11-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) picked up a win in her promotional debut on the same night at Mohegan Sun Arena, while former Bellator featherweight champ Julia Budd remains a major factor in the division. Following her unanimous decision victory over Bell (7-7 MMA, 3-3 BMMA), Smith (12-8-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) said she’d love to face either of those two big names.
“I want to fight someone higher up,” Smith told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after her victory. “I want to fight someone who’s going to set me up to move up and to get a little bit more out of the whole experience.
“It would be an honor to get to fight (Zingano) and get to fight Julia Budd. I know I need to get another win before I can really throw my name into the hat for the title shot, but of course, that is the ultimate goal.”
Whoever she faces next, Smith said she hopes to face an opponent who makes the contracted weight for their matchup. Bell missed weight by three pounds for the matchup after coming in at 149 pounds for their featherweight clash. It left Smith feeling irked, and she explained that a succession of weight-miss issues with opponents through her career has left her frustrated on more than one occasion.
“Honestly, she didn’t make weight and I got a percentage of her purse (but) yeah, I get a little salty,” she admitted. “I had some bad experiences of people not making weight. Three out of four of the last people that I have fought, or I’ve been lined up to fight, have not made weight. It’s just disrespectful, no matter how you look at it.
“I know there’s a lot of different situations going on. We’re in a pandemic. I know she’s from Oregon, where there’s a lot of wildfires. We were cool after the fight, but I would just like to be able to fight someone who comes in like a professional and not have those extra emotions ever.”
Check out Smith’s full post-fight press conference via the video above.