When Glover Teixeira called out Anthony Johnson following his first-round knockout of Rashad Evans at UFC on Fox 19, his motives were not entirely self-serving.
The 36-year-old Brazilian is looking for the most attractive possible fight, of course, but he’s also trying to help Johnson avoid too much time on the sideline, as well. While “Rumble” could be an interesting future opponent for Jon Jones, it might take a while to get to that point considering that the returning ex-champ will be fighting for interim gold next weekend. Should Jones defeat Ovince St. Preux, a title unification bout with Daniel Cormier looms later in the year.
All of this could mean an extended layoff for Johnson, were he to play the waiting game.
“‘Rumble’ deserves the title shot of course. He’s in line. It’s up to him what he wants to do,” Teixeira said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I just mentioned the name over there because you see that’s so popular. Cormier is gonna fight the winner of Jones and OSP. Who knows when that fight’s gonna happen? Anthony Johnson is probably going to have to stay out all year doing nothing. I was going to give him a job, you know.”
Teixeira has worked his way back into contention at light heavyweight after three straight finishes in the Octagon. His latest effort against Evans, a former champion, was perhaps his most impressive work, as he pressured the Blackzilians representative against the fence and dropped him with a left hook before knocking him unconscious with an uppercut 1:48 into the first round.
The emphatic nature of Teixeira’s triumph left Evans in a dejected state, and “Suga” called the loss “embarrassing” as he addressed media on the dais. Teixeira dismissed that notion, as well as the idea that he was already looking ahead to a future showdown with Johnson.
“I wasn’t looking past Rashad. Rashad is a tough opponent,” he said before addressing his defeated foe directly. “By the way, Rashad, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re an incredible warrior. You were a champion for a reason. Keep your head up and I know you’ll come back from this.”
The fight wasn’t initially supposed to be Teixeira’s, but he seized the opportunity when Mauricio Rua pulled out of the contest last month.
“I knew I had a tough guy in front of me. When I got called to fight Rashad, I was happy,” he said. “I was happy because I got a job, and this is my job.”
That same philosophy that led to his decision to take a short-notice bout against Evans applies to his desire to fight Johnson. And if that doesn’t come to fruition, Teixeira will gladly take the next man up.
“I’m a fighter. I’m a worker. I want to fight. It’s all about business,” he said. “I want to keep myself busy... I don’t care who, I don’t care where. I just want to fight.”