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Anthony Smith 'not picking on anybody,' but he'd love to fight Glover Teixeira in UFC headliner

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WASHINGTON – Anthony Smith is ready to get back in the octagon and has his eye on a fellow former UFC title challenger.

After defeating Alexander Gustafsson in June, Smith (32-14 MMA, 8-4 UFC) underwent multiple hand surgeries that have kept him out for the remainder of the year. While he’s been busy as an analyst for the UFC, Smith is eager to return to action.

There are only a few top-ranked light heavyweights available, and Smith would like to face Glover Teixeira next.

“I’ve really had my eye on the top five, but I think outside of the top five it’s a little shifty. It’s been moving around a lot, but I think Glover is available, so that’s someone that I would love to fight just because of who he is and what he’s done in this sport,” Smith told MMA Junkie.

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Smith made his UFC debut in 2013 in Brazil, where he suffered a first-round submission loss to Antonio Braga Neto via kneebar, a fight which left him pretty banged up.

Struggling to make his way through the airport, a young Smith recalls how Teixeira helped out during that hard time.

“Funny story: My UFC debut in Brazil, I blew my knee then got cut right after, so on my way back I was struggling with all my bags and a blown knee, and Glover actually helped me through the airport and translated for me and helped get me on the plane and stuff like that. So ever since then, I’ve always had this really – like, I was a nobody. He was a superstar, you know, so I’ve always had just a really big, just a lot of respect for him since then. So again, I’m not attacking anybody. I’m not picking on anybody. He’s just the next guy that may be available, and that’s how I do it. I’m not waiting on anybody.”

Years later, the two would share the same card in Hamburg, Germany, in 2018, when Smith took out Shogun Rua in the main event, and Teixeira (30-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC) lost a unanimous decision to Corey Anderson. Smith’s win was one of the biggest of his career, as he was able to snap the former UFC light heavyweight champion’s three-fight winning streak.

Later that night at the hotel bar, Smith said Teixeira respectfully approached him, expressing interest in fighting him. And while the fight didn’t end up materializing then, Smith thinks now would be a good time for them to throw down.

Preferably at the end of February or beginning of March.

“I would love to fight Glover. I think that he’s quietly amassed a winning streak over some super, super tough opponents that nobody else wants to fight, and I think he deserves the main event,” Smith said. “I don’t know. You know he had the main event against Gus that didn’t go his way, but I think it’s time that Glover gets another main event. I think he’s earned that, and I think he deserves it.”

Gallery

Photos: Best of Anthony Smith

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