Saturday night on UFC on Fox 6, two light heavyweights crossed paths during two very different journeys. For three rounds, Brazilian Glover Teixeira, long regarded as a world-class talent but fighting for only the third time in the UFC, battered the old oaken sides of one Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who by all indications was fighting for the last time in the promotion after 12 contests.
Though only about 16 months apart in age (Jackson is 34, Teixeira 33), they are more than 20 total fights apart in experience. Teixeira (20-2, 3-0 UFC) seems ready to face the future, while Jackson (32-11, 7-5 UFC) faces a far murkier path.
Jackson's future has been sliced, diced and speculated upon ad nauseam. What about Teixeira?
I'm here to tell you it's time to believe the hype. Drink that Kool-Aid. Go on. Pick it up. Drink it! All the cool pundits and fans are doing it.
And well they should. Teixeira showed against Jackson that he can do it on the feet or on the ground. Teixeira easily handled Jackson in ground sequences and converted all five of his takedown attempts, compared with a big squadoosh for Jackson.
Even so, Teixeira still opted for standing exchanges with Rampage, hanging in the pocket and virtually inviting Jackson to test his chin. Jackson tried, but never rocked Teixeira. Teixeira, on the other hand, rocked Jackson more than once, using a left hook and short, crunching uppercuts to put Jackson on roller skates at various times. A softer-headed opponent probably would have gone down.
When the final horn sounded, it was fitting that Teixeira was fully mounted atop Jackson, peppering him with unanswered punches and elbows.
It was never close and it was all the evidence needed, from gavel to gavel, that Glover Teixeira is for real. What lies ahead for all those who said Teixeira had never fought anyone of consequence, and would be steamrolled by Jackson? This morning, those folks are busy either eating crow or moving their goal posts.
Either way, the Glover-hasn't-beaten-a-top-opponent argument is now dissipating like dandelion spores on the wind. As of Sunday morning, it was clear Glover Teixeira's detractors would need to do better. So, too, will his opponents.