Morning Report: Daniel Cormier says he ‘would do the same thing’ if he were in Glover Teixeira’s position for UFC 282


Daniel Cormier agrees with Glover Teixeira’s decision to turn down a short notice fight against Magomed Ankalaev.

Teixeira was supposed to rematch Jiri Prochazka for the light heavyweight belt at UFC 282, while Ankalaev was to face Jan Blachowicz in the co-main event, but last week, disaster struck when Prochazka was forced from the fight due to injury. As a result, the UFC scrambled to find a suitable replacement to headline the final pay-per-view event of 2022. Initially, the promotion wanted to keep Teixeira in the main event, and have him face Ankalaev instead, but Teixeira ultimately shot this idea down, saying he needed more time to prepare for a totally different style matchup. Teixeira then offered to either rematch Blachowicz at UFC 282 or fight Ankalaev at UFC 283, with a few more weeks to prepare, but the UFC shot both ideas down, instead elevating Ankalaev and Blachowicz to the main event spot and putting the vacant light heavyweight title on the line.

It was an unfortunate outcome for Teixeira, but former light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier says were he in Glvoer’s position, he would’ve made the same choice.

“I believe that, honestly, I would do the same thing if I was Glover,” Cormier said on ESPN. “It’s different. When I was fighting, they told me, as the champ, would you fight Derrick Lewis on three weeks’ notice? Knowing the matchup, I said, sure. Stipe Miocic, I would not have fought on three weeks’ notice, because it’s a different matchup. When I had to fight [Anthony] ‘Rumble’ Johnson for the vacant title, God rest his soul, sure, I’ll fight ‘Rumble’ Johnson. When they said Dan Henderson on a few weeks’ — six weeks, five weeks, whatever, I wasn’t in camp — sure, because I know the matchup.

“Glover Teixeira also understands that if you give him Jan Blachowicz, he’s fought him before, he’s done training camps for him before. Magomed Ankalaev is an unknown. Nobody really knows what this kid is, especially being that he’s so highly regarded. If he was just a young kid that nobody knew that wasn’t thought to be a future champion, I think anyone would jump at the opportunity to become champ, because again, we’re talking about a 43-year-old man who has been the UFC champion, who has fought the best of the best.”

The elephant in the room for this situation is the UFC’s insistence that Ankalaev be one half of the title fight. Teixeira vs. Blachowicz would be a title fight rematch of the most recent two champions before Prochazka, both of whom are ranked higher than Ankalaev in the UFC’s rankings. Some fans suggested the decision from the UFC was based on the ages of Teixeira and Blachowicz — 43 and 39 respectively — and while Cormier can’t speak to the UFC’s motivations, he believes that Teixeira’s decision was very likely to have been influenced by his age.

“Time. He doesn’t have time to rebuild,” Cormier said. “He’s 43. When you get to this point at this age, you’ve got to capitalize on it right now or it just doesn’t happen. At 30, when Glover got here on a 18-fight win streak, Glover was able to work his way up to a title fight against Jones, lose, work his way up into a No. 1 contender fight against me, lose, work his way back to another No. 1 contender’s fight, lose, then work himself all the way back up to the champion because he had time. At 43-years-old you don’t have time. So you have to be very selective with what you’re doing…

“It’s a young man’s game,” Cormier added. “Every time you’re in there with the young guys, you cannot beat the young guys, then it’s time for them to move on from you. But again, you also run the risk of fighting Ankalaev and getting mopped up, because the guy is that good. You can literally get embarrassed and then what? So I think it’s smart of Teixeira.”

There’s one other factor Cormier believes weighed on Teixeira’s decision: Ankalaev’s name value. Despite being a top-five light heavyweight with an 18-1 record, Ankalaev is not a huge star in MMA. Though Ankalaev’s previous three opponents were all former title challengers, those fights were all forgettable performances, or ended due to injury, leaving Ankalaev as the worst kind of opponent: high risk, low reward.

“I don’t disagree with Glover,” Cormier said. “If I was in the same situation, with Ankalaev, too many unknowns for a guy that isn’t necessarily known to the general public, who isn’t a guy that everyone recognizes as a top contender, because Magomed has not been in the game long enough and he has not stood across the octagon from the people that make you as recognizable as you need to be in order to be viewed in that way.

“Think about this, Sean O’Malley now has stood across the octagon from Petr Yan. Sean O’Malley already had a name built in. But now you have the visual of him in there against a former champion, doing very well. So you can sell him as a legit title contender. The biggest name we’ve seen [Ankalaev] in there with is Anthony Smith. No knock on Anthony, but it’s not like being in there with Dan Henderson and all those guys that I fought — Josh Barnett, [Antonio] ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Frank Mir — before I ultimately got to a championship fight. You need those guys to elevate you to that point, and I don’t think Glover sees him in that light.”

UFC 282 takes place on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


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Anyway, hope y’all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!


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