Jon Jones is one step closer to his next fight ... because Anthony Smith tells TMZ Sports his manager is already talking with the UFC to get a deal done.
30-year-old Smith has clawed his way to becoming the #3 ranked light heavyweight after taking out Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir in his last 3 fights.
After Jones beat up Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on Saturday, he and Smith talked trash to each other during the post-fight show on FS1.
Now, Smith says he ain't just blowing smoke -- he wants smoke -- and his manager, Jim Walter, is already speaking with the UFC honchos to hammer out a deal.
No word on when the fight would go down but Smith says he'll brawl with Jones "any time, any place anywhere ... I'll fight Jon this weekend if he wants to."
Smith says he respects Jones as a fighter but wasn't super impressed with his 3rd-round victory over Gustafsson -- saying, "I've seen him look better."
Of course, there are other fighters angling for a shot at JJ -- including #6 ranked contender Corey Anderson ... but Smith says no one wants to see that fight because Jones will beat his ass.
We asked Smith if he had a message for Jones -- "I'm ready. I'm ready and you know it. And I know it. I'm the only one that's gonna push you."
Stay tuned ...
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