January 20, 2021

Leslie Smith signs Bellator, joins featherweight division

MMA veteran Leslie Smith has inked a deal with Bellator.

Reports by Yahoo! Sports were confirmed by Smith on social media on Tuesday.

Smith will be competing in the featherweight division. Over the course of her career, she has competed as a 125, 135, and 145-pounds– including a 140-pound catchweight contest vs. Cris Cyborg.

Smith was released from the UFC in April of 2018. She was scheduled to face Aspen Ladd in the last fight on her contract, however, Ladd missed weight by 1.8 pounds. Smith chose to not accept fight and instead negotiate her UFC contract.

The UFC opted to pay Smith her show and win money and release her rather than negotiate. It should be noted Smith was, and is still, a figurehead if Project Spearhead– fighting for the rights of fighters.

Smith (10-7-1) has competed once before under the Bellator banner, losing a decision to Kerry Vera at Bellator 7 in 2009.

Smith told Yahoo! Sports, β€œWhat I’m so excited about signing with Bellator for is that I do not think they do not have that climate of fear that was present in the UFC.”

She added, β€œThey’re a company that cares. They listen to their fighters. They put their fighters first and they give them the opportunity to have sponsors and there is a lot of expression that can happen inside those deals with the sponsors.”

An opponent and date is yet to be determined.

Source: MMA Junkie

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