Following two years away from the cage, featherweight Leslie Smith returned to fighting this past July with a unanimous decision win over Sinead Kavanaugh at Bellator 224. Now, she's thinking about challenging for a Bellator belt.
While there are some things she feels like she could work on following the win over Kavanaugh, overall Smith feels pretty pleased with how she did in the fight.
“I thought I did awesome,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “I had a lot of fun getting back inside the cage after the layoff. I feel like I got to have a lot of fun. I’m looking to do that again (in my upcoming fight).”
For Smith, there are a lot of takeaways from the win, most importantly to take advantage of all her skills if it allows for her to close out a fight.
“I think I could have ended the fight a whole lot quicker if I had taken (Kavanaugh) down and finished her on the ground,” said Smith. “I definitely have the skills to do that, but I got excited and had too much fun punching her in the face so I kept on doing it.
“I think this time I’m going to try to have some more self-discipline and when the time is right, use my full set of MMA skills as opposed to sticking with the striking. That’s my takeaway from this last fight and how I want to apply it in this (next) fight.”
On Friday in Thackerville, Okla., Smith (11-7-1) will look to pick up the second win of her return when she faces Arlene Blencowe (12-7) in a 145-pound main card bout at Bellator 233.
“I think the ideal MMA game plan is to go in, keep her up on her feet, take her down and finish her on the ground,” Smith said of Blencowe. “I would like to showcase all of my skills, and I think this is an ideal opponent for me to do that.”
With intentions to enjoy fighting more now that she’s back at it following her layoff, Smith is looking forward to having fun as she works he way towards title contention in 2020.
“I have a lot more about me and about my life and about my identity than I ever did before,” said Smith. “I feel that makes me a more complete person and more happy person; and a complete and happy person makes for a better fighter.
“The goal is to become the champion. The goal is to win this next fight. Then hopefully the next step to getting that title fight is going to become clear after (this fight).”