The Texeira Dilemma
This past Saturday night, there were supposed to be big implications in the Santos vs. Texeira bout. It looked like it would be a title eliminator and the winner would fight Jan Blachowicz for the undisputed light heavyweight title. One week earlier though, Dana White announced that Israel Adesanya, the middleweight champion, would move up one weight class to challenge Blachowicz for the belt and a chance to become a double champ. It looked to me to be a bad move by the UFC, especially the timing of it all. The Santos vs Texeira fight was still a great one but the announcement took away the title shot implications, which were a big part of the story leading up to the fight.
The reason Adesanya is to move up in weight is because Robert Whittaker, the number one contender, said in his post fight press conference last week that he plans to take some time off. That leaves Adesanya without an opponent until Whittaker is ready. The move makes a lot of sense for Izzy, being that he's beaten all of the top contenders at 185, and he gets a chance to join an elite group of fighters who have held two belts simultaneously.
What doesn't make sense is that Jan Blachowicz said he won't fight again until March, because he has a baby on the way. If Adesanya and Blachowicz fight in March, it will create a log jam in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Glover Texeira who won his fight by rear naked choke against Thiago Santos, is the new number one contender at 205. No one else in the 205 division can fight for the belt before him, and he will have to wait until at least June to fight for the belt, and that’s being extremely optimistic.
In the middleweight division, Robert Whittaker is next in line for a title shot, but wants to take some time off, and therefore Adesanya doesn't have an opponent unless he wants to fight the winner of Jack Hermansson vs. Kevin Holland. That fight is not good for the UFC because Hermansson lost to Jared Cannonier, who lost to Whittaker, and Kevin Holland is an unknown, unranked fighter only known to hardcore UFC fans. None of them will make for a good PPV.
So what's next? In my opinion, Glover Texeira deserves the next title shot against Blachowicz, after finishing Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos consecutively. Adesanya should fight the winner of Hermansson vs. Holland. Even though it's a hard sell, it would keep the division moving. Texeira is 41 years old and it will be a huge shame if he doesn't get the shot that he so deserves.Adesanya can fight the winner of Texeira vs. Blachowicz after he beats the winner of Hermansson vs. Holland. And yes, he will without a doubt dominate either one of them.