Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight No. 1 contender, Glover Teixeira, turned 36 just over a week out from his co-main event spot with No. 9-ranked Patrick Cummins at the UFC Fight Night 77 mixed martial arts (MMA) event inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sat., Nov. 7, 2015.
Not only is the powerful Brazilian tasked with staving off the beasts of the 205-pound division, but the Connecticut-based fighter is also jostling with father time.
Teixeira (23-4, 6-2 UFC) spoke with MMAmania.com two weeks prior to his meeting with "Durkin" about a wide range of topics, like battling back from injury, wanting to fight champion Daniel Cormier more than Jon Jones, drug testing, and much more.
Can you give us a quick update on your health and what the last couple of months have been like for you?
GT: I'm keeping myself busy. This year was rough, man. I had to do a lot of work. I was training for my fight with Rashad [Evans] and got hurt then I was training for the fight with Alexander [Gustafsson] and he got hurt. I pretty much trained all year round. I got the fight in August and I feel really good and they put me in the November fight.
Do you wish you could've fought more? Do you feel a bit behind now with Ryan Bader moving up the rankings and Jon Jones coming back?
GT: No man, I'm the kind of guy that everything happens for a reason. I got hurt and I wish could fight and this would be my third or fourth fight, but things happen and when I come into UFC in 2012, I got five fights in a year and a half. I got a little layoff after the Jones fight; I hurt my shoulder then after a few months I fight again. That's part of the game, man. I have no complaints you just got to deal with the situation.
Before we get to your fight, your 36th birthday is on Oct. 28. Do you have any birthday plans?
GT: Nah, no birthday plans. My birthday plan is I'm going to party after the fight, after I beat Patrick Cummins. This is it. My birthday is going to be training; a normal day for me.
No days off for you?
GT: Usually, I take Wednesday off, but this week is the last week of training. I go every day because I only train once a day so pretty much no days off, man. This week only I train once a day so I train every day. Saturday we're going to go to Brazil. Then we do some stuff to cut the weight.
So now you're looking to avoid injury and begin ramping down training, so to speak?
GT: This training camp was really hard. I train like 2-3 times a day. It depends on the day and situation. It was hard, I've got to tell you. I rest this is like one of those things where all the energy I had, I gave to training. Every little time I had, I either wanted to be watching TV on the couch, in my bed or training. I had no energy to do anything else. I feel really good. It's time to slow down the training a little bit and get there.
The weight cut is going to be easy. My weight is down. Just waiting for that day. I've been waiting a while and want to get it over with.
Sounds like you want to make up for lost time?
GT: I love to fight. I love to beat men. As long as I'm healthy, I'll be fighting every two-three months. They give me a fight and I'll be 36 years old and I don't know much more time I have to do this stuff. I just like to get back in and keep fighting. As long as I'm healthy, I'll be putting on a show for the fans.
Being that you'll be 36 in a couple of days, have you needed to adjust training a little bit?
GT: Sometimes you have to do it, but I have my jiu-jitsu coach. He's an old-school guy; he's a boxer. He's just old school to do hard work and I love the old-school stuff. I used to training with John [Hackleman], Chuck Liddell. Because I'm doing this for so long, I guess my body is able to do it.
Don't fix what's not broken. I'm feeling great in the training, sparring and grappling with younger guys. I'm going to keep going until the day where I say, 'Okay, I've got to slow down now because I'm getting too old.' So far no man, I've been going harder than ever.
Have you kept in touch with your friend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira?
GT: Yeah, I talk with him. He sent me a message yesterday. The guy is an incredible guy. I got to train with him a little bit before, but never in his camp or gym. When I was at Blackhouse, he wasn't there. That guy is a mentor for all of us. He's a legend, man. If you tell me the best MMA fighter -- if one guy had to win an Oscar for MMA, I'm going to say Antonio. We talk all the time. He tells me to send him a video for some of the fans and yesterday he sends me a message -- a good message -- for motivation.
Being that you have a background in boxing, what did you think of the recent Floyd Mayweather and "GGG" fights?
GT: Yeah, I watched them. I watched the "GGG" fight. It was an incredible fight. Of course, the Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquaio fight was more expectation than the fight itself. He went in an used his jab.
Will you give us your preview of the Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez fight?
GT: That's the fight I'm looking forward to watching. I believe Miguel Cotto is -- the speed is not there. Canelo Alvarez man; his speed is there and he's a very good counter puncher. He's going to take this one. It's going to be a great fight. They're both bangers, man.
Do you have any plans of expanding on your Glover Teixeira MMA Training Center? It obviously keeps you tired rolling around with some of the students.
GT: The gym right now is doing good. We have a fitness program. I'm starting to have a kids program in 2016. Right now, I just have one class and I open up that gym more for me to train and have my personal gym to train so I can train anytime. It's very small gym, but I open exactly the gym I wanted. I have my guys over there; my camp and everybody comes. We have cardio kickboxing for girls. We have MMA fitness for the guys. I don't teach anything yet because I don't want to put too much of my time into teaching now and of course, eventually that's what I want to do.
I want to expand the gym -- make it bigger -- with more students, more classes, but that's not my main focus now. My main focus is to get that belt.
Do you think you'll become champion in 2016?
GT: Yes, in 2016. I mean we have Jones coming back and we'll see what happens with that. I think I'm going to have to fight this fight and hopefully everything goes good. One or two more fights next year -- in 2016 -- that's what I want it to be. I want to fight for the title and that's my plan. I'm going to work on it and focus on it. I believe that's going to happen.
You tweeted after the Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson fight in October. What do you think of Cormier as a champion of the sport?
GT: I don't know. We see Daniel Cormier show the skills, man. He beat Anthony Johnson; he beat Gustafsson. He's a good champion and I believe him and Jones is going to be a good fight. We have to support him as champion. He's got the championship mentality. It could be a different fight with [Jon] Jones [now]. I believe that he could beat Jones.
To tell you the truth, I hope he beats Jon Jones because my style with Cormier would be a great fight. I would love to fight Cormier. I like the guy as a person. Every time I see the guy; he's incredible. I just like the matchup. Me and Cormier, we're bangers and he's a wrestler. We're going to throw bombs. It would be a great fight.
But you believe we'll see Cormier faces Jones next?
GT: He's got to be there, Jones. He deserves to come back and get the title shot. Nobody can deny the guy. He defends his belt I don't know how many times. He definitely is going to fight for the title.
What do you think of -- a guy who you faced before -- Rampage Jackson's comments on Jones. Does he really try to injure opponents?
GT: Dangerous? It is. This is the UFC [laughs]. We stand in the Octagon and try to knock each other out. Hey man, I hope every time I step in the Octagon. I don't want to injure nobody. I don't want to take away nobody's career or somebody's arm. I just want to win. At the same time, I want that knockout. I mean, MMA is a dangerous sport. I have no complaints about the way the guy fights. That's part of the sport. If somebody is playing soccer, and someone says, 'That guy is trying to injure me all the time.' This is a fight. You get yourself prepared.
About poking in the eye, his style -- the way he's moving back -- he keeps the hand opened a little bit. You've got to watch that a little more. Maybe he get a little punished for that, but referee gotta tell him one or two times. After five times, you've got to take a point away or something. I don't think he's dirty. I don't think he does on [it on] purpose. That's his style. He's difficult. He popped my shoulder right out in the first round, but that was a move. It was an explosive move.
A lot of people tell me, 'He's dirty. He did that to injure you.' You go over there and you want to rip off this guy's arm. It's part of the sport. We have to rough this guy up. To beat him is to get dirty with him, not dirty like out of law, just get rough and beat him. That's the way I think. I'm old school and I'm not going to complain. I'm going to say, 'I'm going to go back and train.' I'm going to beat this guy.
Switching gears to the new USADA drug testing program. How many times have you been drug tested for your upcoming fight?
GT: I got tested once over here. They come to my house and test me. Before the Jones fight, I got tested, but I guess that was Baltimore commission.
I see via your Twitter account this new supplement you've endorsed called Gaba Source. It says that it helps with anxiety and the weight cut. Anderson Silva was caught with an anxiety medication in his January drug test. What can you tell us about this one?
GT: I take it for a while. This is supposed to be a very natural stuff. This USADA thing; you've got to be really careful. It's supposed to be all-natural stuff. I ask one of the nutritionists that work with us, Paulina. She works with a lot of UFC fighters. She check it out and says it's 100 percent good. It's all-natural stuff. It's an herb. It's one of those things that it's better. It's like a prescription medicine; anti-anxiety. It just helps me relax a little bit and sleep more I guess. They test me and so far we good.
I never take supplements. Before you could go to GNC and [buy] whatever they sell you. Right now it's just -- I'm not taking any supplements now. My last fight was under USADA with [Ovince] Saint Preux. The only thing I take is a protein shake and BCAA stuff to recover. To tell you the truth, I don't even know if those things would work. I would just take those because they're supposed to help you a little bit. It's not going to help me much. I'm not going to take a bunch of steroids and have a bunch of problems later on in my life.
I'm very happy with USADA and now we're all going to be on the same level. Fighters have to be smart and not to get anything new. That's why I ask people to send pictures to USADA and ask them if I'm okay.
Before we get to your fight in a moment, you've heard a lot about sponsors ditching fighters, the Reebok deal and a lot of different opinions. Are your sponsors still with you?
GT: The Reebok deal come down and my last fight was just with Reebok. I don't know, maybe it's hard now for them to sponsor us. I can see why. You go over there and everybody is going to see you the day of the fight wearing Reebok. You hear complaints here and there. It's out of my hands. There's nothing I could do. I wish I could have more sponsors. This is the deal.
You'll be fighting for the fourth time in Brazil. The Brazilian fans are known to be a wild bunch, but so are the Irish. Who has the better fans?
GT: I've never been to Ireland, but I guess Brazil. I'm Brazilian and I guess the Brazilians go more for me. They all care a lot about the fight. I also have four fights in the United States. I'm pretty happy to have [them]. I like to keep myself half and half because I owe a lot to this country as well. I started fighting and training in this country and [had] all this opportunity to be training over here. I have my team and I like to consider myself half and half. I have a lot of American people rooting for me. My family is Brazilian. When it goes America versus Brazil of course, I'll raise their flag but it's a hard thing to do. I don't like to see myself as only Brazilian. I consider myself half and half; dual citizen. It's me, my wife, little kids and couple of cats.
Were you upset at all by receiving Patrick, who's ranked lower than you, as an opponent?
GT: No, you've got to fight somebody. If you only fight guys who're higher ranked than you and the guys above you keeping fighting guys who're higher ranked than there's never going to be a fight. You just fight and it's another paycheck. This guy is no joke. He's a good wrestler. I have to prove myself to the fans and UFC people that I'm capable of fighting for the title soon. I have to go over there and do a beautiful and exciting job.
What have you learned from some of those losses against wrestlers like Jon and Phil Davis that will help you in the fight versus Patrick?
GT: Well Phil Davis was uh -- I learned a lot about weight cut for that fight. I was training really hard for that fight, but my weight cut was rough. It was really, really bad weight cut. No injuries, no nothing. It was just weight cut so I keep myself lighter now -- lighter on my feet and I keep moving more. His speed is going to make a difference in this fight.
Do you feel like it will hit the ground, or will it end early?
GT: I believe this fight will not go all three rounds. I'm looking forward to finishing this guy in second or beginning of third round because Pat is tough. My challenge is to stop him before it goes to decision.
Did you study tape of his loss versus Ovince Saint Preux earlier this year for your fight versus "OSP?"
GT: Yes, I watched that fight because I watch Saint Preux. I can be like, 'I beat that guy and that guy beat him.' Styles make fights. I just have to break his confidence with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu. If it goes to the ground, I can work on my jiu-jitsu and finish him.
Before we go, are you worried about the state of Brazilian MMA after seeing men like Anderson Silva and Renan Barao fall? What are your predictions for the Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor fight in December?
GT: Most of the Brazilian fighters are my friends. For the fighters out there; I have some American friends, but most of them are Brazilian. Aldo is my boy; he's my friend. He's my good friend; we talk all the time. I just think his skills and his speed. McGregor is no joke; he's not just a talker. It's going to be a great fight. I'm with Jose Aldo 100 percent and I think he keeps his speed and doesn't let McGregor get in his head. You see how McGregor fights; he keeps calling to people. I think the jiu-jitsu and wrestling of Jose Aldo -- his stand-up and his speed, I believe will be too much for McGregor.
Any closing comments about your fight and Patrick?
GT: Keep the TV on Nov. 7. We're going to go over there and put on an exciting fight for the fans and try to knock this guy out.
There you have it.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 77 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" bouts at 6:30 p.m. ET before moving on to the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" offering at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 main card line up at 10 p.m. ET.
For the complete UFC Fight Night 77: "Belfort vs. Henderson 3" fight card and my initial article on Glover, click here and here.