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Glover Teixeira deserves his UFC title shot
The title shot legitimacy of Glover Teixeira is often met with disdain or negativity. Why? Well, for one, that's what MMA fans do. (Ask Chris Weidman . . . after he won the title.)
And second, they say Teixeira has yet to fight a top-10 light heavyweight in the UFC.
Both of those points are true.
Both of those points aren't much of an argument to make in claiming Teixeira doesn't deserve a shot at the title, which he earned Wednesday night after knocking out Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28 in Brazil.
Teixeira isn't just the next hyped fight to push his way into the title picture with boasts and buzz. He's doing it with his body of work.
-- Teixeira is 5-0 in the UFC with four finishes (two first-round submissions, one first-round TKO).
-- He has wins over Bader (who may not have been a consensus top 10 but was just on the outside looking in) and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who although he may not be the fighter he once was but is still an impressive name to have a "W" next to on the resume.
-- He's on a 20-fight win streak, which is impressive no matter what promotions they were fought in over the years. It's not easy to not lose, even by a fluke, that many times in a row.
-- He's the No. 2 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC.
-- Who would be more deserving of the next title shot? Let's take a look at the top 10 rankings
1. Alexander Gustafsson -- If he loses to Jones at UFC 165, it's hard to fathom an immediate rematch. If he beats Jones, then that rematch might occur and push Teixeira's title shot back a few more months.
3. Lyoto Machida -- Jones has been there, done that, and convincingly. Plus, he lost to Phil Davis last month and is moving to middleweight for at least one fight (Nov. 6 vs. Tim Kennedy).
4. Phil Davis -- He's 3-0 since losing to Rashad Evans, with two wins by decision. He's pretty much the only one you could make an argument for ahead of Teixeira, but his body of work isn't as impressive as Teixeira's yet.
5. Rashad Evans -- He's 1-1 since losing to Jones, with that one win a split decision vs. Dan Henderson.
The remainder of the top 10 -- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, Chael Sonnen, Shogun Rua -- aren't in the conversation.
-- Don't underestimate the power of buzz when it comes to making title fights happen. Remember, this as much about sport as it about promotion and marketability and customer consumption. Ever notice that some professional sports teams have started to sell tickets at different prices for the same seat based on the opposing team? MMA is an individual sport, but the concept applies here.