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Smith participated the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event (see UFC 1) which was an eight-man single-elimination tournament with very few rules, awarding $50,000 to the winner. Art Davie, the promotor, placed ads in martial arts magazines and sent letters to anyone in any martial arts directory he could find to recruit competitors for the event. With the event being held in Smith's hometown of Denver, he was an easy addition.
Smith's first match was against Ken Shamrock after a random draw. Shamrock, Smith, and several other fighters were not convinced that the fights were real until the event actually started. Shamrock took Smith down easily and submitted him with a heel hook. The fans in Denver booed heavily as they were unaware of the submission rules and were displeased with the fact that Smith went down so easily.
Smith's performance got him invited to UFC 2 where he entered with the expressed intent of a shot at the previous winner Royce Gracie. Smith said he spent the time between shows working on his grappling to perform better fighting on the ground. Smith submitted 2 of his 3 opponents and knocked out Scott Morris in under a minute before finally losing to Gracie in the final.
After UFC 2 Smith officially retired from mixed martial arts.
Smith returned however at UFC 6 where he fought Rudyard Moncayo and won by rear naked choke-submission at 1:08. Due to an injury sustained during the fight, Smith had to withdraw from the tournament due to stomach cramps. He was replaced by Anthony Macias.
Smith went on to fight for K-1 and Bas Rutten's first three invitationals shows as well as fighting on a few of the World Vale Tudo Championship events showcasing No Holds Barred fighting. Recently he has signed to the YAMMA fight organization. On 4/11/08 Smith came in as a late replacement for Gary Goodridge and defeated Eric "Butterbean" Esch via submission due to strikes in a "Masters Superfight" at YAMMA Pit Fighting's inaugural event.