The UFC is close to finalizing a light heavyweight matchup between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira in November, according to multiple sources.
The 205-pound bout is expected to headline a UFC Fight Night on Nov. 7, most likely in Las Vegas. Once official, it will mark the third date this fight has been booked. It was originally scheduled to headline an event on Sept. 19, but Teixeira withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. It was rescheduled for Oct. 3 in Abu Dhabi, however Santos tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
Santos (21-7) was cleared to return to his American Top Team gym in south Florida on Thursday, after receiving a negative COVID-19 test. In a recent interview with ESPN, the 36-year-old Brazilian said he experienced headache and fatigue for "two or three days," but has since recovered and resumed exercise at his home.
Santos hasn't fought since he came up just short in a light heavyweight title bid against Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019. Santos suffered a significant knee injury in the fight, but still managed to beat Jones on one of the three judges' scorecards. The loss snapped a four-fight win streak for Santos.
Teixeira (31-7) is enjoying a career resurgence at age 40. He is currently on a four-fight win streak, which includes finishes over Anthony Smith, Ion Cutelaba and Karl Roberson.
The UFC's light heavyweight championship will be on the line this weekend at UFC 253, in a fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz. Speaking to ESPN recently, Santos said he believes the winner of his fight against Teixeira will be the next No. 1 contender. He also predicted an upset victory for Blachowicz.
"The fight makes sense and Glover and I deserve this position," Santos said. "We deserve to fight and see who gets the title shot. I had a good fight with Jon. For a lot of people, I won that fight. I should fight for the title again now, but a lot of things happened and Jan and Reyes are fighting -- but I should be next. And I will prove this again when I fight Glover."