The lion heart of Anthony Smith got in the way against Glover Teixeira on Wednesday night.
Smith was coming off of one of the best performances of his career, where Smith submitted and retired two-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson. This fight against Teixeira seemed like the last hurdle “Lionheart” would need to jump over, in order to throw his name back in the hat of next in line to face the current champion, Jon Jones.
Glover Teixeira had other plans.
After Anthony Smith out-landed and out-worked Teixeira in the first round and was on his way to winning the second, the 40-year-old Brazilian started to land heavy and win exchanges. Smith was notably tired and Teixeira began to take advantage.
The third round saw Teixeira completely turn the tide and take over the fight, dropping Smith with an uppercut. Referee Jason Herzog allowed Smith to continue, although a stoppage could’ve been easily justified. The fourth round saw even more of the same, with Teixeira pummeling and taking down Smith. nearing closer and closer to a stoppage, the fifth round was no different. With just under four minutes left in the fight, Jason Herzog had finally seen enough.
“Mercifully, it’s over!” proclaimed UFC announcer Jon Anik.
Anthony Smith suffered a broken nose, a broken orbital bone, a cut under his right eye, and the loss of two permanent teeth, Smith told ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani.
We all see beatdowns in the UFC. We see time and time again where fighters are too tough for their own good. Just look at Tony Ferguson this past weekend against Justin Gaethje. It’s when you see a clear change in demeanor and how a fighter changes the way they fight. Then you begin to worry.
Anthony Smith was a totally different fighter after the second round against Glover Teixeira. The Lionheart that we saw make a run and challenge for a title in 2019 had disappeared. The hands were low, he was losing every exchange and wasn’t fighting smart, no adjustments were being made and he slowly faded over the next three rounds.
Bad Coaching Advice For Anthony Smith
When in between rounds, the coaching and advice Smith was getting from his corner had no impact. The corner made no notable adjustments throughout the course of the fight. Adjustments that the audience could hear at least.
After the fourth round had ended, the only thing Smith uttered to his corner was “My teeth are falling out.”
What followed was Smith’s coaches telling him that he needed to “sellout” and do what he could to try and finish the fight. Smith was behind on the scorecards in a big way. He needed to knockout or submit Teixeira in order to win.
At this point in the fight, Anthony Smith was in no position to go back out there and keep fighting. To myself, and from the response of social media after the fight, Smith was without a chance of claiming victory. The fight needed to be stopped.
Friend First, Coach Second
Anthony Smith never has, and never will be a guy who quits. There is no nickname that suits a fighter better than “Lionheart” suits him. He is a warrior and will go out on his sword every single time.
That being said, it was Anthony Smith’s coaches’ job to stop that fight earlier than when the referee did, and they failed to do so.
If I and numerous other fans at home can tell that Anthony Smith was no longer in that fight in the later rounds, then there is no reason that his coaches couldn’t see the same thing and save their fighter from unnecessary punishment. It felt obvious that after the fourth round the fight needed to be stopped. Smith was landing nothing of importance and was being hit repeatedly and taken down with ease. It felt like Smith’s gas tank was empty and there was no point in attempting to refuel.
I’m sure that Anthony Smith may have been furious with his corner for stopping it if they did, but it would’ve been the right thing to do. Unfortunately, Smith was sent back out for more punishment. The coaches never asked Smith how he was feeling, and stopping it didn’t seem like an option for his corner either. It was so clear that Smith was out of that fight, and I feel that the corner of Anthony Smith did him a disservice by allowing him to continue. Taking care of your fighter should be priority number one for a corner, and it seemed as though that was nothing but an afterthought for Smith’s team tonight.
Anthony Smith and Coach Response
Anthony Smith didn’t view anything wrong with his coaches tonight, however. he told Ariel Helwani;
“I’m good with the decisions the referee and my corner made.” “I come out of the battle with my shield or I come out on it. That’s my rule. Period.” As to be expected, Smith would never throw his team under the bus and wants to go out his way on his terms in a fight.
Marc Montoya, head coach of Anthony Smith, was asked about why he let his fighter continue. In regards to the teeth, Montoya thought he was referring to Smith’s veneers.
“This has happened in practice. He’ll be grappling and his veneers will come out,” said Montoya. “So to us, that’s why we aren’t reacting as strongly to that. Montoya went on to say, “He’s a veteran and he was still fighting. He’s still got an opportunity to win a fight.”
Smith also commented on the teeth situation, saying;
” I couldn’t keep my mouthpiece in place due to the missing tooth.” In the middle of the fourth round, Smith actually handed one of his teeth to Jason Herzog while on the ground with Teixeira. “I looked down and it was on the canvas. So I grabbed it and handed it to him.”
Fighting In and Out of the Octagon
One can only hope that Anthony Smith’s recent situation he had with a home intruder didn’t impact his performance tonight. You can hear Smith recall the harrowing experience:
In the lead up to the fight, Dana White joked that Smith was on a two-fight winning streak, if you include the intruder.
The bottom line is, sometimes having the heart of a lion doesn’t yield the best results. Anthony Smith took more damage than his corner should have allowed him to.
Hopefully, Anthony is able to recover quickly and eventually make another run at UFC gold. He is more than capable of doing so. Let’s also hope that his team never lets him take any more unnecessary punishment that could potentially derail his career in the future.