Jones (24-1, 1 NC) defended his light heavyweight title in a tepid, five-round fight Saturday, outpointing Smith (31-14) on all three judges' scorecards 48-44. The 205-pound title fight headlined UFC 235 at T-Mobile Arena.
The only reason it wasn't a complete 50-44 shutout for Jones was due to an illegal knee in the fourth round. Referee Herb Dean docked Jones two points for the knee, which Jones landed to the side of Smith's head while he was considered a downed opponent.
The 31-year-old Jones cruised to the lopsided decision rather effortlessly. At the same time, he never appeared close to finishing Smith, and there were times when it seemed Smith was content to survive rather than take risks in search of an upset.
Jones outstruck Smith 238-45, including 125-36 in significant strikes.
"This MMA thing is really hard," Jones said. "Some days you'll look amazing. Some days at work, you won't perform to the level you hold yourself to.
"With that being said, hats off to Anthony Smith. His reputation is known to be so durable, and now I know why his name is 'Lionheart.' I've never had someone talk to me while I'm hitting them. This guy is so durable. He's like the terminator."
Jones had 'flashbacks' to only loss after illegal knee
Jon Jones said he was praying he wouldn't lose due to an illegal knee and has all the respect for Anthony Smith after he stayed in the fight.
For Jones, the illegal knee could have been far more costly than two meaningless points. Had Smith been ruled unfit to continue and the knee characterized as intentional, Jones might have suffered a loss via disqualification. The only loss of Jones' career, to Matt Hamill in 2009, was due to an illegal strike.
Smith, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and fights out of Denver, managed to recover and continue with the fight. He later said he would not have wanted to win the title via disqualification.
"I want to win [the title]," Smith said. "I don't want to steal it."
Although it wasn't his most memorable performance, Jones, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, thoroughly outclassed Smith in every area. Jones landed several spinning back kicks early on and cut Smith with elbows in the fourth round.
Jones, who has said he wants to fight four times in 2019, did not mention a potential next opponent. He has recorded nine total title defenses in his career, although this is his first since reclaiming the belt in December.