After news broke that Glover Teixeira had been forced out of his Light Heavyweight showdown against Jimi Manuwa, which was set to headline UFC Fight Night 137 on Sept. 22, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, volunteers to step in and fill the void started popping up.
Chief among them were Khalil Rountree and Anthony Smith, who each said they’d be up for the challenge against “Poster Boy.” The problem, according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, is that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is looking for a Brazilian fighter to headline the bout in Sao Paulo.
SMH. I’ll do it. Send me the flight info... https://t.co/jVvYw37v7v— Anthony Smith (@lionheartsmith) August 15, 2018
Smith is fresh off a first-round destruction of Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 134 last month (see it), his second straight win over a former UFC 205-pound champion (the other being Rashad Evans). After his win, the “Lionheart” called for a title fight against Daniel Cormier, but since neither “DC” or UFC took it to heart, Smith has to look elsewhere.
As for Rountree, he has won three of four and was last seen knocking out Gokhan Saki in the very first round at UFC 226 last July (recap). While the offers from both men are commendable, Manuwa is coming off two straight losses, so it could be somewhat of a high risk, low reward situation, as the British brawler does have the one-punch knockout power to get the job done.
In an interesting twist, Thiago Santos revealed he offered to face Manuwa, and though it would’ve made the promotion happy, “Poster Boy” apparently turned down the fight.
“ I offered to fight Manuwa in Sao Paulo but he declined. I get it! He is coming off 2 losses doesnt need a 3rd!!!! @ufc @ufc_brasil @canalCombate— Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) August 15, 2018
Back to the drawing board.