Glover Teixeira came up short in his title bid against Jon Jones at UFC 172, and now he must look toward the future.
Teixeira is a talented fighter. He has a good ground game and power in his hands. Unfortunately for Teixeira, he was not able to utilize any of that against Jones in Baltimore. The talented Brazilian's stock took a hit in the lopsided decision, but he is not out of the hunt just yet.
Options for Teixeira's next opponent are slim. The light heavyweight division is in a state of flux. Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier are slated for a fight at UFC 173, Rashad Evans is injured, and Teixeira should not take a big step back for his performance.
Here are three realistic options for Teixeira's next fight.
A bout between Teixeira and Davis leaps off the page because they were two highly ranked light heavyweights who lost at UFC 172. It would make sense to put them against one another moving forward.
I do not think this is the best move for the fighters or the UFC. A second straight loss would be damaging, and placing them together ensures that one will suffer that fate.
The winner of the bout would put themselves right back in the mix at 205 pounds. This is the only upside to this potential bout. Regardless, it is a realistic option on the UFC's table for an easy bout to make following the show in Baltimore.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
A bout against Shogun could headline a future show in Brazil, and that has to be an enticing option for the UFC.
Shogun is coming off a KO loss to Dan Henderson, and he had surgery to repair his broken nose following the fight. He was suspended for six months, but can be cleared sooner. This would give Teixeira ample time to recover from his beating at UFC 172.
This would be an exciting fight between two fighters in similar positions. They both want another run up the ladder but are unlikely to draw much interest at this point. A stand-up bout between Teixeira and Shogun would bring them attention, if nothing else.
If the UFC is seeking an exciting fight to headline a card in Brazil, they could do much worse than Teixeira-Shogun.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson came away with one of the most impressive performances at UFC 172. After a win over the No. 4-ranked Phil Davis, Johnson will thrust himself up the ranks at 205 pounds.
It would make sense for Rumble to take on someone in the upper echelon of the division, but there are no open fighters except for Teixeira.
It would be the fight I suggest the UFC make. A loss to Teixeira does not hurt Johnson, but a win would elevate him as a potential contender for 2015. And the UFC needs contenders for Jones.
As for Teixeira, the fight is an opportunity to regain his status in the division. If he wants to have another run at the title, it needs to start with an impressive showing against a quality opponent, and Johnson offers him the opportunity.
Of the few options the UFC has, without giving Teixeira a young up-and-comer, Johnson is the best.