Anthony Smith Tattoos: Meaning Behind the UFC Light Heavyweight’s Back Tattoo and Other Inks

Published 12/09/2023, 12:25 PM EST

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Anthony Smith began his MMA career in 2008; a regular in the Las Vegas-based promotion since 2016, he’s all set to fight undefeated light heavyweight prospect Vitor Petrino at the UFC 301 card on May 4 in the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. A veritable veteran of the sport at this point,  the Texan has unfortunately lost three of his last four fights. And his upcoming bout will be crucial in determining the course of the rest of his career.

Like a lot of other UFC fighters, ‘Lionheart’ has a lot of  tattoos on his body, many of which have come under ridicule from fans for reasons we will see later. Ahead of his UFC 301 bout against the Brazilian at the latter’s home turf in Brazil, we take a look at what do his tattoos mean?

Anthony Smith, a man of ink


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Starting from top to bottom, Smith has numerous distinct and striking tattoos on his body. On his right arm is a tribal design tattoo that details his cultural roots. On the other hand, he has another larger design of a similar kind. He has a fascinating mandala art tattoo on the center of his chest.

Mandala tattoos are often used to symbolize charm and good luck. They also hold meanings that relate to love, empathy, and compassion. His center tattoo also has a little lion head attached to it near his heart, a reference to his moniker, ‘Lionheart’.

On his right leg, there’s a Samurai tattoo that symbolizes the strength and courage of the legendary Japanese warriors. Ancient Japanese tattoos are some of the most sought-after designs by fighters even today.


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Smith’s oldest daughter, Ariah, was born on November 6, 2011. For her, he has a left shoulder tattoo that reads ‘XI-VI-MMXI’. His left side of the stomach is covered by a tribal-designed lion that may symbolize courage and pride. He also has tattoos that read ‘No Regrets’ and ‘Momma’ on his body, which are rather self-explanatory.

Anthony Smith’s massive sleeve tattoo


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Anthony Smith clearly loves tattoos. His right arm is covered in a beautifully done full-sleeve tattoo that has many water-based themes. Water can be seen flowing through the tattoo, which includes koi fish, dragons, and carp, which are important motifs in East Asian cultures and signify strength, good fortune, and ferocity. An infinity symbol that has the names of his daughters Avaya and Jean on his upper chest is a rather sweet symbol too.

And as he sets up to face Petrino, who, with his undefeated record and eighty per cent finish rate, is, on paper, a challenging opponent for ‘Lionheart’. However, the American has fought some of the greatest fighters in the UFC between 185 and 205, and Petrino is unlikely to throw anything at Smith that he hasn’t faced before. But, his recent skid in form is a worrying sign for him and this bout will probably determine if he stays in the top-10 of the 205-pound division. What are your predictions for UFC 301?


Written by:

Prit Chauhan


One take at a time

Prit Chauhan is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His portfolio shows him as the go-to event coverage writer at ES and his work on UFC 297 is proof of the same. As an experienced writer and a longtime MMA fan, Prit’s strong suit lies in telling the relatively unknown and more personal stories of fights and fighters.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Kumar Das