Did Corey Anderson do enough to rise to the No. 1 spot in light heavyweight rankings after a four-fight start in Bellator? He certainly thinks so, especially since he holds a 2018 victory over current UFC champion Glover Teixeira.
Ask Teixeira about it, though, and he’ll say all that talk is nonsense.
“It’s water under the bridge,” Teixeira said on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca. “Corey went there and was better that night [in 2018]. It was a bad fight, I lost a decision, [but] it’s a fight that could have gone five or 10 rounds and he wouldn’t have knocked me out or submitted me, wouldn’t have done anything. I got tired and he stalled. I had no marks [on my face] when I got out. But Corey is doing a good job in Bellator. I root for him.”
Anderson won back-to-back fights over Ilir Latifi and Johnny Walker after his victory over Teixeira, then parted ways with the UFC shortly after a brutal knockout loss to future champion Jan Blachowicz. Since then, Anderson has beaten Melvin Manhoef, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, and Ryan Bader in Bellator before a recent no contest with 205-pound titleholder Vadim Nemkov in the tournament final.
Teixeira, on the other hand, hasn’t lost since that night in Germany. His six-fight run includes finishes over Thiago Santos, Anthony Smith, Ion Cutelaba, and Karl Roberson, as well as a submission of Blachowicz to capture the UFC title in Abu Dhabi.
“If we have to fight again one day, of course I’m going to win, man. I’m way better now,” Teixeira said of Anderson. “I stayed in the organization and he was released, you know? He lost after that. He got knocked out by Blachowicz. He got knocked out by the man I took the belt from.
“He’s lucky he defeated me and can say it, but, man, that doesn’t bother me,” Teixeira continued. “I would rather watch birds sing. I won’t stress out over that, because that fight … everything is different today. That was four years ago, 2018. I’m the champion of the world now. Where was I ranked back then? He lost, had his lows here [in the UFC] and went to Bellator, but he’s doing fine now.”
In fact, Teixeira said Anderson reached out to him asking if he could travel to Connecticut to train with him not that long ago, but timing wasn’t right.
“I said I wasn’t training for a fight but he could come over,” Teixeira said. “[Anderson said] ’Oh, I wanted to do some sparring,’ but I wasn’t training for a fight, I was helping Alex ‘Poatan’ [Pereira]. He said he would come after Alex’s fight but ended up not coming, and then he started saying that.”
In order to run it back, Teixeira would need to leave UFC for Bellator or Anderson would have make his way back to the octagon — two scenarios that look unlikely at the moment.
The other solution would be another improbable plan: A co-promotion between MMA’s two biggest companies.
“That’s up to the promoter,” Teixeira said of a possible UFC-Bellator co-promotion. “Dana [White] is doing the right thing. If he sees the money, if he sees it’s worth it, he’ll definitely do it. He’s done it before and will do it again. Who am I to give my opinion to Dana White? If I was at that level, I’d be promoting my own event. [Laughs].”