On a night where Glover Teixeira had one of his best performances in recent memory, half the talk was about the heart shown by opponent Anthony Smith.
That’s the fight business for you. At UFC Jacksonville, that ever-so-rare mid-week UFC card, Teixeira and Smith battled it out for the better part of five rounds in an occasionally painful-to-watch main event. Smith started strong, but that didn’t last. A head kick in the second may have been partially to blame. By the third, he was on the wrong-end of a one-sided beatdown.
Still, he kept going. More concisely, he kept refusing to go away.
Teixeira, perhaps, played into that. In the build-up to their main event scrap, Smith and Teixeira had been nothing but respectful and cordial. Still, Smith made a suggestion that he might catch the Brazilian in a submission. Teixeira seemed ready to prove a point: it would be he who submitted “Lionheart.”
Yet every time Smith went down and Teixeira went looking for the choke, it wasn’t there. Extending a rather brutal beatdown in the process. Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press at the virtual post-fight media scrum, Teixeira said that his submission attempts weren’t actually about showing Smith up.
Rather, he just saw the opportunity there. Plus, he’d hurt his hand earlier in the fight.
“I saw a submission there a couple times, and I wanted to go for it. I wanted to get the submission, I wanted to get the guy out of there man. Finish the fight,” he told us. It was the third round in which he hurt his hand. “Maybe because I couldn’t punch so hard with my right hand anymore, I was looking for submissions.”
They didn’t come. The TKO did in the fifth, but not before Smith was complaining about loose teeth. Post-fight there was a lot of criticism of Smith’s corner for not throwing in the towel. Asked point-blank if he thought they should have, Teixeira answered that “It’s tough, because guys like Anthony Smith… Maybe. Maybe the referee should stop it too.”
The ref, Teixeira recalled, “would say ‘move fighter, move, or I’m going to stop it.’ And every time he moved, [or] he tried to move. But it’s a situation like man, the guy’s getting beat up, and not really doing anything to attack. I think the referee should just, maybe could stop the fight in the fourth round, because he wasn’t doing much anymore.”
Next up for Teixeira could be one of Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, whoever doesn’t wind up facing Jon Jones next. If Teixeira wins that, he could suddenly be on the brink of a second shot against Jones — who he called a different fighter from their first meeting.
“He’s a different fighter than when we fought. I’m a different fighter. I just want to take another shot at that title. For sure. That would be a dream, that’s my dream,” finished Teixeira.