The UFC has made it official.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will face Glover Teixeira at UFC at UFC on Fox 20 on July 23. The bout has been set as the co-headliner of the event which will be held in Chicago:
— UFC (@ufc) May 5, 2016
The Rumble-Teixeira fight has title implications written all over it. After current champion Daniel Cormier and interim champion Jon Jones, these are the next-highest-ranked light heavyweights on the planet. After back-to-back losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis, one-time title challenger Teixeira has recorded three consecutive stoppage victories to return back to No. 3 in the UFC 205-pound rankings. In his most recent bout, Teixeira stopped former champion Rashad Evans in one round at UFC on Fox 19 last month. Immediately after the victory, Teixeira did what only a few mortals dare to do: call out Anthony Johnson:
— UFC Asia (@UFC_Asia) April 17, 2016
Rumble replied and said he’s always ready to rumble:
I don't dance, I fight!!!
— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) April 17, 2016
Even UFC PresidentDana White, a man known to be picky about matchups, liked the sound of it. Said White to FoxSports 1:
“You know I don’t make fights after fights, but I gotta be honest, when [Teixeira] called [Johnson] out, I like that fight.”
Calling out Rumble Johnson was no joke.
With 15 KOs in 21 wins, Johnson is one of the most feared fighters on the planet, regardless of weight class. Rumble has lost just once in his last 12 bouts and that defeat was against Cormier when the two met for the vacant 205-pound title at UFC 187 last year. Eight victories over that period were by stoppage, including first round KOs of Antonio Rogerio Noguiera, Alexander Gustafsson and most recently Ryan Bader. Johnson was reportedly the original choice to fight Jones at UFC 197 but was unavailable due to a recent dental procedure. He will now face Teixeira instead, with the winner likely to have a big say in the next light heavyweight title bout.
A women’s bantamweight matchup between former champion Holly Holm and Valentina Schevchenko is expected to be the co-headliner of the event, which will take place at the Windy City’s United Center. If made official, it will be the first women’s non-title bout to be named as co-headliner. After beating Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holm lost her title four months later to Miesha Tate at UFC 196. Schevchenko has a 12-2 record in mixed martial arts and is regarded one of the best Muay Thai fighters on the planet, having beaten the likes of Caley Reece and current UFC straw weight queen Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She is 1-1 in the UFC after losing to Amada Nunes at UFC 196.