At 40 years old, Glover Teixeira’s light heavyweight run is as impressive as it is surprising. Over the last four years, his record has been checkered with alternating wins and losses. But following his most recent victory over former title contender Anthony Smith — his fourth-consecutive win — it’s time to take Teixeira seriously.
The No. 4-ranked Smith came into his Wednesday’s night tilt with Teixeria as a -190 favorite, having most recently taken the division champ, Jon Jones, the distance before finishing former contender Alexander Gustafsson with a fourth-round submission in June 2019.
Smith started off well with a sharp first round, but as the one-time title challenger slowed in the second, the cagey veteran began his onslaught.
In the third round, Teixeria poured it on, landing a whopping 76 strikes, including 43 significant strikes, to Smith’s one, per UFC stats.
— UFC (@ufc) May 14, 2020
The fourth was much of the same, with Teixeria earning a 57-12 strike advantage, taking Smith to the ground, where his opponent legitimately handed his teeth to referee Jason Herzog:
— Debate and Debauchery (@dbatendbauchery) May 14, 2020
— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) May 14, 2020
While maintaining Smith’s back, Teixeria even apologized for the unrelenting beatdown in a conversation picked up on the side of the cage thanks to the fan-less environment.
Teixeira: Sorry, Anthony, it’s part of the job.
Teixeira: Sorry. Part of the job.
Smith: Yeah. It is what it is.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 14, 2020
In the fifth, the referee mercifully but an end to Smith’s night, giving the TKO win to Teixeria. The victory puts the No. 8 ranked Teixeira at 31-7 on his career with his most impressive win since knocking out Rashad Evans in 2016.
Over his 18-year professional career, Teixeria fought for the division crown in a 2014 decision loss to Jon Jones, but he’s positioning himself for one final title shot. The future of the UFC’s light heavyweight division is very much uncertain at this time, but should he get a contender bout against someone like Thiago Santos, Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, he could very well be on the doorstep of a career-defining title fight.