On Saturday night, two of the UFC's top light heavyweights will collide in Chicago as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson squares off with Glover Teixeira at UFC on Fox 6.
While the matchup may not claim top billing on promotional posters, the throwdown between the former light heavyweight champion and rising Brazilian star has all the makings to be the biggest fight on the card.
The bout comes under interesting circumstances, as both men are standing at a crossroads in their respective careers.
Teixeira has been labeled the "next big thing" in the 205-pound weight class and has the potential to become a dominant force in the UFC's premier division.
At the other end of the spectrum, Jackson has become disenfranchised with the sport's biggest promotion, and all indicators point to the bout with Teixeira being his curtain call inside the Octagon.
That being said, the fight will undoubtedly be the perfect opportunity for Teixeira to prove he belongs in the conversation of top light heavyweights on the planet. It is a moment he's been working toward his entire career, and the 33-year-old has every intention of making a statement at Jackson's expense.
"I trained so hard for this fight," Teixeira told Bleacher Report. "Saturday night will be another step toward my dream. I get to fight a big-name opponent in the co-main event of a big show. It is a great thing. This is my time and I'm ready to go. I'm ready to show the world what I can do."
In addition to the storylines, which have built a buzz leading up the fight, the stylistic differences between the two fighters present several interesting angles. Both are heavy-handed sluggers with the potential to end a fight with one clean shot, and both have a proven track record of separating their opponents from their consciousness.
Where Teixeira would appear to have the biggest advantage is when the action hits the canvas. The John Hackleman-trained fighter has a solid submission game and has used his strength in the past to outmuscle his opponents on the ground.
While the Brazilian's grappling credentials are well known, Jackson has some of the best takedown defense in the light heavyweight division. Teixeira understands the challenges Jackson presents but believes his well-rounded skill set and desire to win will ultimately prove too much for his opponent.
"I think I bring more tools to the fight," Teixeira said. "Rampage has good wrestling and jiu-jitsu. We have seen how good his takedown defense is in past fights, and he has fought other guys with good jiu-jitsu and has defended a lot of submissions. He's no joke and you have to be ready in all areas of the fight. I think my cardio, speed and the fire I have inside of me to keep fighting are going to be the difference.
"In this fight, it is going to be an aggressive Glover Teixeira who is coming in looking for the finish at all times."
A victory over Rampage would solidify Teixeira's place in the upper tier of the light heavyweight division and put him within striking distance of a title shot.
That being said, it will be his toughest test to date inside the Octagon. Should Teixeira find success on Saturday night in Chicago, the hype surrounding the Brazilian wrecking machine will not only become validated, but it will become a reality as well.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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