Heading into his bout versus Dinis Paiva for the CES bantamweight championship this past April, Josh Smith might have seemed like the underdog in the eyes of many, but that’s not how he saw it.

Heading into the bout with a game plan he was happy to share with others, Smith followed things pretty much to the letter and picked up a second round submission win to claim the CES title.

“I told everyone that’s what I was going to do,” Smith said to MMAWeekly.com. “Everyone I guess counted me out. If you go back and look on Tapology it was like a 95 – 5 ratio of him beating me. I went out there and I performed how we know how to do at American Top Team and won a title.

“I said I was going to finish him in the second. I said I was going to pepper him a bit on the feet, then whenever he started thinking I was going to stay on the feet I was going to take him down and show him what our ground game looks like, and that’s what I did.”

While others doubted him, Smith didn’t take the situation personally, but instead went into his bout with Paiva like it was work as usual.

“I don’t have any chip on my shoulder going into the fight,” said Smith. “I’m very conditioned to competing. I’ve wrestled my whole life. If someone hits me I don’t take it personally. If someone has to fight me I don’t take it personally. I know the game.

“It’s a game to me, but it’s a dangerous game, and it’s a game I love to play. You get locked into a cage with another man and see who walks away with their life.”

On September 17 in Hartford, Connecticut, Smith (10-6) will look to defend his title when he faces Jay Perrin (9-4) in a main card 135-pound championship bout at CES 64.

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“I know he’s a great opponent and a champion in another organization, and he pushes the pace and likes to walk forward, and I know he keeps saying he’s going to be the new CES champion, so he’s coming in game,” Smith said of Perrin.

“My game plan is to try to stay on the outside, touch him up on the outside, then maybe once he’s settled in on the outside take him down, who knows. Or it could be something completely different. It’s a fight and you always have to expect the unexpected, but I’m expecting the very best Jay we’ve ever seen. I’m coming in prepared to defend my title and defend what’s mine.”

Should Smith pick up the win over Perrin, he hopes he can get his shot at the next level and lay claim to a spot among the top fighters in his weight class.

“I do take it one fight at a time but I do plan ahead,” said Smith. “I expect to be called to the next level after this fight. Hopefully the performance I put on show the next level that I’m ready and that I’m that guy you need to bring up to bring it.

“I know the bantamweight division in every organization is the strongest in the world right now, and I just want to show the world that I’m a part of that upper echelon. I think going through Jay is part of that journey for me.”

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