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Ryan Spann reacts after his knockout victory over Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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A Consistent Ryan Spann Is A Dangerous Ryan Spann

UFC Light Heavyweight Ryan Spann Is Excited For The Opportunity To Run It Back With Antony Smith At UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs The Korean Zombie

While sitting down with Ryan Spann during fight week in Singapore, it was clear that he’s dialed in on one singular thing – consistency.

The Texas-based light heavyweight has had some big-time moments thus far in his ten-fight UFC career but has suffered three untimely setbacks just when it seemed like he was going to elevate himself to becoming a true title contender.

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That’s why he’s so locked in on not only being the fighter he knows he can be, but being that fighter every time he steps in the Octagon.

“I just want to stay consistent with each day,” Spann told UFC.com. “I’m trying to stay in a consistent mindset and be consistent in everything I do. I want to stay focused, stay patient, consistent, and win.”

Ryan Spann punches Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Ryan Spann punches Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

One of those setbacks came in September of 2021 against former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith. “Lionheart” connected with some heavy shots that hurt Spann badly and eventually led to a rear naked choke defeat for Spann.

He moved on from that fight and turned in two of his best performances in the UFC in his next two bouts. First, he submitted Ion Cutelaba in the first round and then knocked out Dominick Reyes in just over a minute.

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Spann was slated to face Nikita Krylov in a main event in February, but issues with Krylov pushed the fight back a few weeks. When they eventually tangled in March, it was Krylov that got the better of Spann, submitting him after both fighters attempted multiple submissions.

It was a disappointing result for “Superman” who felt like he had all the momentum in the world heading into that fight.

Ryan Spann reacts after his knockout victory over Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Ryan Spann reacts after his knockout victory over Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

But Spann wasn’t going to stay down for long. He got back to work and waited for the phone to ring. And it did – with an unexpected offer to rematch Anthony Smith on August 26.

“Yeah, I think I was surprised. It was weird that they came to me with it,” Spann said. “I didn’t think that we would get it back, but it really didn’t matter because I was ready to move on if I needed to. But yeah, it was a bit surprising.”

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Spann didn’t have many thoughts about that first fight with Smith. Sure, he was disappointed with the result, but he can’t even look back at the tape and recognize himself in that bout.

“It’s hard to say because I didn’t show up for the first fight,” Spann said. “It’s hard to take anything from it, really.”

Ryan Spann reacts after his knockout victory over Misha Cirkunov of Latvia in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa Getty Images)
Ryan Spann reacts after his knockout victory over Misha Cirkunov of Latvia in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Spann guarantees that things will be different this time around. He’ll show up and he’ll be proud of the skill and Fight IQ he displays against Smith at UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs The Korean Zombie.

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Although things are wide open in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, Spann isn’t looking to make any sort of statement. That’s not the priority. He jokes that he doesn’t even know what his ranking is in the division because all that matters to him is beating Smith and fighting like he knows he can fight.

He’s confident that if he does that, the statement will handle itself.

As for how it’ll feel for him to even the score with Smith, the 31-year-old wasn’t willing to comment on what he’s expecting that to be like. But he promises to let us know after the job is done.

“We just got to get there,” Spann said with a smile. “I’ll be able to tell you Saturday. How about that?”

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UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs The Korean Zombie took place live from Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on August 26, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass