If given a choice, Anthony Smith would prefer to face Glover Teixeira over Thiago Santos again.
Teixeira meets Santos in a pivotal light heavyweight bout that will headline UFC Vegas 13 on Saturday night. The winner of that fight could very well go on to challenge for the title next with both fighters looking to make a statement and steal the shot from Israel Adesanya.
Smith is one of the few to have faced both fighters. He suffered a second-round TKO defeat at the hands of Santos in their middleweight bout back in 2018 while he suffered a gruesome fourth-round TKO defeat to Teixeira earlier this year.
Despite the nature of his fight with Teixeira where he was dominated for nearly three rounds, “Lionheart” would still rather fight him again instead of Santos.
“I do like that guy [Santos] a lot but when you look at him in the eyes, he’s a little bit dead on inside, he really is,” Smith told Jimmy Smith on MMA on Sirius XM. “And a lot of that is just life experience and who he is as a person and that translates to the Octagon.
“I think a lot of people who have seen both of my fights with both of those guys and if you guys were to pick which one I’d rather fight again, you’d probably get it wrong because I’d tell you if I had to choose, I would fight Glover Teixeira every single time over fighting Thiago Santos again.”
Smith: Speed Is The Key With Santos
The power of Santos is a huge factor naturally.
After all, “Marreta” has 15 of his 21 wins coming by way of knockout. However, more than anything else, it’s his speed which is deceptive according to Smith.
“His speed and again, that does sound so basic but there’s no wind-up,” Smith explained. “If you go back and watch Thiago fight, it’s one thing to be fast — it’s another thing to be fast with no twitch before. When he hit me with a spinning heel kick, well, before that, he hit me with a couple of leg kicks and I remember thinking, ‘oh man, like those are fast.’ And he hit me with another one. ‘Uh oh, this is a problem because I can’t see them coming.’ And then when he hit me with a spinning wheel kick, I didn’t even know what he hit me with. He spun so fast with no wind-up that by the time it hit me, I didn’t even realize he had spun.
” … I wasn’t rocked, I was confused because I was confused at what that was. … He’s constant savage. You can see it in his eyes. Everything he throws is with a crazy amount of power. There’s not a whole lot of setup shots, he doesn’t feint a lot. It’s basic but it’s extremely effective.”
Whether Santos — who turns 37 in January — will be able maintain that same speed after over a year out and multiple surgeries remains to be seen.
We will all get to find out on Saturday night.
You can listen to the full interview snippet below:
🎙️ "It's one thing to be fast. It's another thing to be fast with no twitch before." 👊@lionheartasmith explains how the speed of Thiago Santos will factor into his fight with Glover Teixeira at #UFCVegas13@jimmysmithmma pic.twitter.com/Lh5jroepi8
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) November 6, 2020