Anthony Smith says he’s backing former opponent Glover Teixeira to defeat Jan Blachowicz in their title bout taking place 30 October.
Smith lost emphatically to Teixeira in May last year in what was perhaps the worst example of a delayed stoppage in recent MMA history. Smith was literally picking his teeth up from the canvas as Teixeira landed vicious ground strikes and, at one point, even apologized to the American.
In his next bout, Teixeira claimed a submission victory over fellow Brazilian and former title challenger Thiago Santos. It was the 41-year-old’s fifth successive win, earning him his title shot against Blachowicz. Teixeira previously fought for the belt in 2014, losing to Jon Jones by unanimous decision.
Anthony Smith Believes Glover Teixeira “Deserves” Victory Over Blachowicz
With 51 professional MMA bouts to his name, there’s perhaps no light heavyweight more credentialed to say who deserves to win the belt than Smith. And he believes that man is fellow veteran Teixeira, who’s set to challenge for the title once again in his twentieth UFC bout.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, Smith praised Blachowicz as a model champion but said Teixeira deserves to claim the belt.
“I really like Jan, huge fan of him and how he carries himself. I think he’s a fantastic champion, fantastic competitor. I hear nothing about good things about who he is as a person. I’d love to drink beer with him sometime. But goddammit, I just need Glover Teixeira to win. And not because he beat me and it makes me look better. I just think that that man just deserves it,” said Smith.
Former title challenger Smith said that a Teixeira victory would be a fairy tale ending to the Brazilian’s career, and inspire the older generation of UFC fighters.
“If Glover Teixeira can sail off into the sunset someday, at least for that moment in time, wearing a 12-pound gold belt around his waist, I just think that would put a lot of good into the world. That gives a lot of people like me hope, and it motivates a lot of the older guys. And it’s just a feel-good story, so I hope Glover (wins),” said Smith.
Since his loss to Teixeira, and shortly thereafter to Aleksander Rakic, Smith has bounced back into fine form. The 33-year-old is riding a two-fight win streak after claiming first-round stoppages over Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute.
He’ll next face #11 ranked light heavyweight Ryan Span at UFC Vegas 37 on September 18.
What do you think? Will Glover Teixeira Finally Capture the Belt Against Jan Blachowicz?