Glover Teixeira vs. Anthony Smith

The UFC ran it back again in Jacksonville last night for UFC Fight Night.

Jim Rome
May 14, 2020 - 9:18 am
Glover Teixeira vs. Anthony Smith

USA Today

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The UFC ran it back again in Jacksonville last night for UFC Fight Night. And in the main event between Glover Teixeira and Anthony Smith, two guys did their job. And a few others didn’t.

Glover Teixeira sure as hell did his job. That was a monster performance. Before I get into the biggest issue of the fight, I want to make sure that Teixeira gets his due. Because he earned it.

This dude is 40 years old. It wasn’t that long ago that he lost three of five fights and looked like he was coming to the end of his career. Retirement was a real possibility.  Now he’s won four straight and you could have a conversation about whether he might get a look at the belt before he’s done. And he went all Rocky Balboa with it after the fight saying “It’s not how hard you get hit, it’s how hard you get hit and keep coming back.”

Similarly, it was 14 months ago that Anthony Smith was fighting Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt. Smith is no tomato can.

And in the first round, Smith was giving Teixeira problems: he looked great, popping his job effectively, to set up his right, mixing his kicks and generally having his way. It looked like it was going to be a long night for the older Teixeira who wasn’t going to be able to match smith’s athleticism, hand speed, youth and energy. And Smith came in with a focus and intensity that I had never seen from him before a fight. It looked like it was going to be a big night as he was landing the most significant blows in the first two rounds. 

But in the third, things started to change. And by things, I mean Smith’s face.

That was a nasty 20 seconds from Teixeira. And a brutal 20 seconds for Smith. At that point, you might argue that a stoppage may have been premature. What you can argue is, it would have prevented Smith for ultimately taking his worst beating ever. What you can argue is, it was clear after that exchange Smith wasn’t winning that fight. 

The phrase “re-arranging someone’s face” is not supposed to be a literal description of a guy’s face. But Teixeira was definitely doing some re-configuring to Smith’s head.

Here’s a quick recap of the damage. Smith told Ariel Helwani after the fight that he suffered a broken nose, a broken orbital bone, and lost two teeth.

And you know it’s a brutal fight when you hear that list and your reaction is: that’s it?

Because it sure felt even worse than that.  I know it looked a lot worse than that. 

Teixeira beat the ever-loving crap out of him. That was as dominant and comprehensive a beating as you will see.

If you were watching it last night, you may have seen Teixeira talking to Smith at one point during the fight. You may have wondered what he was saying to him as he was beating the hell out of him. Because there was no crowd, mics actually picked up the conversation: try to make out what they’re saying to each other here:

Teixeira: Sorry, Anthony, it’s part of the job.

Smith: What?

Teixeira: Sorry. Part of the job.

Smith: Yeah. It is what it is.

It was so dominant that Teixeira was actually apologizing to Smith at one point.

Like, hey man, sorry I’m beating the crap out of you. I really don’t want to have to do this, but it’s a job, you know? And Smith just rolling with it. That is the only time “it is what it is” is actually a good answer. Because that was what it was? A brutal ass-kicking that actually was part of the job. And Teixeira is such a classy pro that while administering it, and knowing the damage he was doing, actually apologized to the dude he administered that beating to.

And more to the point, it was a beating that never should have never gone on as long as it did. It could’ve been stopped in the third: frankly, I’m still not sure how Smith made it out of that round. It definitely should’ve been stopped in the fourth, during the fourth, or after the fourth. And there’s no way Smith should have been permitted to come out to take even more punishment in the fifth: it was clear long before then, he couldn’t defend himself and could no longer hurt Teixeira. 

And don’t get it twisted. Nothing but respect for Smith and his toughness, and his courage. He was never going to stop or quit. But it never should’ve reached the fifth round, let alone another minute and four seconds in before it was stopped.

As Dana White said afterwards, “Us sitting on the outside it was a little tough to watch. Cormier was flipping out. Like, flipping out.”

That’s Dana White and Daniel Cormier we’re talking about. If Dana White says it was hard to watch, then we’re talking about a brutal beating. If D.C. is flipping out we’re talking about something really bad happening. And they’re right. Where the hell was Smith’s corner when their guy was getting beaten to a pulp. What were they watching?  Because I’ll tell you what I was watching. I was watching Teixeira punch Smith’s ear right off his head.

Seriously. That’s not an expression or an exaggeration for effect. That was a legitimate concern for me. I thought there was a chance we were going to see Teixeira give Smith a Vincent Van Gogh. Like, dude, where’s the rest of his ear??

But forget the ear for a moment and let’s think about the teeth. Because there were two moments involving teeth that were utterly insane. There was the moment in the fourth round, where Smith was on the ground, with Teixeira on top of him and Smith is reaching out for the ref.

If you were watching something seemed a little off. Teixeira is choking Smith and Smith keeps reaching for the ref, but not like he’s going to tap. So then what’s he doing?

And then the ref seems to take something from him and put it in his pocket. And it turns out to be, wait for it, a tooth.

He just gave the ref a tooth. Like, can you hold this for me? Just for a couple minutes? I’ll need it back later, but I’ve got my hands full right now and don’t want to lose it.

Did that really happen? Yep. Smith said afterwards he found his tooth on the canvas and handed it to the ref 

Not exactly someone losing a finger and then having a medic put it on ice in the event they can reattach it at a later time. But I’ve never seen a fighter lose a tooth and then just hand it to the ref.  And then the ref puts it in his pocket like, “I got you, big dawg.” Wonder if the ref circled back after the fight and said “Anthony, sorry about you busted busted beak and broken orbital bone, but I do have your second pre-molar here for ya, champ. 

And if that was the only mention of a tooth or teeth in that fight, I would be fine. But of course, it wasn’t. I don’t know…maybe Glover thought Smith’s wisdom were impact and he was just looking to extract them free of charge. I just know, as courageous as Smith was, and there’s no disputing that: this dude was Lionheart, but as courageous as he was, things were about to get even worse for him: which I will get to in a few moments.