This past weekend at UFC Vegas 13, Glover Teixeira picked up one of the biggest wins of his UFC career to date. In a tremendous fight, Teixeira was able to weather a huge storm to choke out former UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos in the third round of their main event.
The victory was the fifth in a row for Teixeira, who now sports an impressive UFC record of 15-5. However, despite his run, it’s still a question mark as to whether he’ll receive a shot at newly-crowned UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz.
Why? Because essentially, the UFC have already stated that UFC Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya is getting the next shot at Blachowicz, who will be making his first title defense. But should that really be the case? Or should the UFC change plans and hand the title shot to Teixeira instead?
Here are five reasons why Glover Teixeira, not Israel Adesanya, should get the next shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight title.
#1 The window of opportunity is small for Teixeira
Teixeira’s current five-fight win streak is, along with a similar run from 2012 to 2014, his best sequence in his UFC career. However, it’s worth noting that Teixeira is a very different fighter these days from the one who burst onto the UFC scene all those years ago.
Sure, he still hits hard, is ridiculously tough, and has one of the more underrated ground games in the UFC. But Teixeira is now 41 years old and is clearly no longer in his athletic prime.
Admittedly, Father Time has not caught up with him yet. But given that the list of UFC champions over the age of 40 stands at just two – Daniel Cormier and Randy Couture – it’s probably fair to say that Teixeira’s window to achieve his goal is becoming smaller with every day that passes by.
That’s why it simply wouldn’t be fair to make him wait for the winner of a Blachowicz/Adesanya title fight or – even worse – make him fight again in the interim. Not only has he earned a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but holding off on that shot would give him much less of a chance of victory due to something he can’t control.
Teixeira may only have a handful of fights left in his MMA career, let alone with the UFC. And given his recent form, the next one should be a UFC title fight.
#2 Adesanya hasn’t earned a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight title
Rewind a few years, and fights between UFC champions in different weight classes were incredibly rare. When UFC Lightweight champ BJ Penn stepped up to fight UFC Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre in 2009, for instance, the MMA world was captivated by such a rare occasion.
In today’s UFC, though, these kinds of fights are becoming more and more common, and thus have lost their special feeling. That becomes magnified even further when it’s clear that the fighter stepping up to fight for a new title simply hasn’t earned a shot in their new weight class.
That wasn’t the case when say, Amanda Nunes stepped up to fight Cris Cyborg for the latter’s UFC Featherweight title. In that instance, Nunes had already beaten every one of note at Bantamweight anyway. However, the same can’t be said for Israel Adesanya.
Nobody would try to suggest The Last Stylebender hasn’t been fantastic. He’s 9-0 in the UFC, has largely been finishing his opponents, and has massive wins over some genuine greats. But since winning the UFC Middleweight title, the fact is that he’s only made two defenses.
Adesanya hasn’t fought the likes of Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, or Jared Cannonier yet. And even if none of them would be favored over him, that means he hasn’t cleaned out his division.
With that in mind, it becomes tough to justify allowing him to move to 205lbs to fight for the title there. Particularly when there’s a contender in the Light Heavyweight division like Teixeira who’s more than earned a title shot and would have to wait.