Reflections on Florida: Khabib vs. Gaethje Is the Future, Teixeira’s Late-Career Resurgence

The UFC’s return to action after the extended layoff brought about by COVID-19 was a whirlwind. A trio of events in Florida that a lot of people probably didn’t believe would actually happen until it finally took place, and went off almost without a hitch. Now that we are a few days removed from the conclusion of UFC Jacksonville and the dust has settled, it’s important to reflect on the barrage of events we’ve consumed after being deprived of MMA for so long with a clear mind.

After fans anticipating Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for what seems like years (and quite frankly it has been,) it’s Gaethje vs. Khabib is the future. “The Highlight” ensured that was the case with the best performance of his career at UFC 249 back on May 9. That card kicked off the trio of events that would include Smith vs. Teixeira, and Overeem vs. Harris.

Speaking of Smith vs. Teixeira, it’s clear that the fight went on longer than was necessary. Yet as ugly as it was, it’s hard not to feel happy for Teixeira. Putting on such a stellar performance this late in his career is inspiring — and it leaves him perhaps a fight away from sniffing at a title shot. Six years removed from his first shot at the light heavyweight belt, and Jon Jones.

For a full look back at UFC 249, UFC Jacksonville, and UFC Florida, check out the video recap above!