The story about Anthony Smith’s bloody battle with a deranged home intruder went viral last month, but Smith had just as bloody a battle against Glover Teixeira on Wednesday night in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 29 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
Just how bloody was it? Well, it was bloody and gruesome enough that Smith was forced to pass several of his teeth to the referee for safekeeping as his opponent continued to bludgeon them out of him.
You can watch the video of that happening below.
Smith later confirmed to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that indeed he was handing his teeth over to referee Jason Herzog mid-fight:
“I couldn’t keep my mouthpiece in place due to the missing tooth,” Smith said. “I looked down and it was on the canvas. So I grabbed it and handed it to him.”
Smith Started Fast But Suffered Horrid Beatdown By End
After getting off to a fast start in the first round, Smith’s quickness and tenacity looked as if they might sink his opponent early the first round before Teixeira landed a low blow about halfway through the set.
That broke the action of a couple of minutes.
When the punches and kicks started flying again, Smith was again getting the better of the exchanges, especially in the second round when he landed a huge punch that hurt Glover and caused the Brazilian’s eye to swell.
But a hard charge by the 40-year-old turned the tide for the veteran, and from the third round to when the fight was stopped in the fifth, Teixeira mauled Smith like a big bear tearing up a stuffed rabbit.
Smith, 31, had entered his main event match ranked No. 4 at 205 pounds. He’ll surely drop down in the ranking now after losing to the No. 8 ranked contender Teixeira.
But his courage and tenacity cannot be denied.
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Smith Lived up to ‘Lionheart’ Moniker
While Smith suffered the devastating loss, the 31-year-old did live up to his “Lionheart” moniker.
The fight could have just as easily been stopped during the third and fourth rounds, but Smith kept doing his best to secure the win even after his teeth were being spilled out onto the mat and his ear was cracked open in a bloody mess.
It’s just another example of Smith’s amazing resilience. At the end of 2013, Smith was 18-11 and on a three-fight losing streak. He remarkably entered his battle against Teixeira with a 33-14 record and had just secured a huge win by submission over Alexander Gustafsson.
And despite getting dominated over five rounds by UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last year, Smith revealed in an interview last week that he still planned to outlast the champ.
“I know in my mind I’ll get back to the title fight and I’ll win the title,” Smith told ESPN’s Marc Raimondi. “Jon Jones tells people he’ll beat me nine times out of 10. Well, we got f—ing nine left.”
Jones Shrugged Smith off (But Maybe Shouldn’t)
Before losing his last fight, Smith said he planned to just keep moving forward with his career until he outlasted Jones and the other 205-pound contenders for the title.
“You’re gonna have to keep doing it, because I’m not going anywhere,” Smith said. “If I don’t beat you, I’ll outlast you. That’s part of it. I’ll just be here longer. So, I’ll end up with the title.”
Jones shrugged that idea off last week and poked fun at it again after Smith suffered the loss to Teixeira.
Still, it’s hard to dismiss someone as tough as Smith when he says he believes his inner resolve is something he’ll eventually use to overcome long odds.
Because Smith handing the referee his tooth so he can continue to try and win a fight that was basically a lost cause at that point is legit evidence that he someday might.