Glover Teixeira has a date, location and opponent in mind for his next bout: He wants a five-round main event against Anthony Smith when the UFC returns to Brazil in March.
“He’s a tough fight, but I’m asking for it, and I believe I can win,” Teixeira told MMA Fighting.
Turns out, Smith is game. The recent UFC title challenger and ESPN commentator said the Brazilian is the most logical choice on the UFC’s top-10 list, and he needs a marquee opponent he hasn’t already faced.
Smith just disagrees on the location.
Teixeira believes they’d fit in perfectly as a headliner for the UFC’s return to Brasilia, Brazil, on March 14. Headliner yes, said Smith, but wrong location.
“There ain’t no damn way I’m going to Brazil,” Smith said when asked about Teixeira’s proposal.
Smith explains he’s weary of traveling after trips to Sweden, Canada and Germany in three of his past four bouts. Not only that, he just played the out-of-towner in June, facing Sweden native Alexander Gustafsson in Stockholm.
In February 2018, Smith took on Brazilian Thiago Santos in his native country, and it didn’t go so well.
“I’m probably the only guy that’s going to give him a main event right now, because any other fight he takes is going to end up on the undercard,” he said. “So if he gets that, he and I being in a main event somewhere, I think it’s fair we keep it in the states.
“I live in the Midwest, he lives on the East Coast. It makes no sense for us to go to Brazil. And to be honest with you, he gets an advantage there.”
Victorious in three fights this year, Teixeira would certainly get another boost with a win over a top-five opponent. He pulled off submission wins over Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba before handing Nikita Krylov the first decision loss of his career.
“Smith is a top contender who’s only lost to Jon Jones, so that would be a great fight,” said Teixeira, who was also dominated by the champ in a 2014 meeting.
Smith has won four of five since moving up to 205 pounds, finishing Gustafsson, Mauricio Rua, Volkan Oezdemir and Rashad Evans. He’s open to returning to the cage as early as February or March, but anticipates he’s more likely to fight around April.
“I know my manager’s working on it now,” he said. “It sounds like I have a lot of options as far as opponents. It’s about date and location at this point.”
Smith said there’s no master plan in calling out Teixeira. At No. 9, he’s just the next guy in line that Smith hasn’t fought and isn’t currently booked.
“I know that people really think I’m some mastermind and I’m trying to pick on the old guy,” It’s so simple. I’m legitimately going down the list.”
For Teixeira, the feeling is mutual. Smith is the guy who’s going to get him closer to another title shot. Only the UFC can determine if they’re headed the same direction.