Glover Teixeira is hoping to lock up his second UFC light heavyweight title shot with a win over top contender Thiago Santos tomorrow night (Sat., Nov. 7, 2020) at UFC Vegas 13 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After producing a 3-3 record inside of the Octagon from 2016-2018 Teixeira needed to buckle down and string some wins together. The Brazilian has done just that by winning his last four trips to the Octagon. This includes a recent TKO victory over Anthony Smith back in May in which Teixeira literally knocked “Lionheart’s” teeth out (see it HERE).
It’s been quite the turnaround for Teixeira over the past few years as he aims to add one more win to his comeback campaign.
“I’m very proud of myself,” Teixeira told UFC.com. “I have a gym and I’m trying to be a role model for the kids that are coming up and teaching them martial arts. It’s not just about going in there and being a champion but being a better person and having better character. I just want to keep going with my career and keep fighting and doing the best that I can and do it the right way. It’s okay to promote the fight, but with respect. I believe in that samurai discipline and respect first.”
Teixeira, who turned 41 this past October, didn’t know if he’d ever re-enter the light heavyweight title picture following his 2018 loss to Corey Anderson. It was a crippling defeat for the Brazilian, who had to start from scratch in the UFC’s growing 205-pound division.
“When I lost to Corey Anderson, it was a down time in my career and the title seemed like it was so far away at that time,” said Teixeira. “They talked about the title and I say yes, of course, that’s the goal. I want to be a champion, but right now I have to do a few fights first and win more fights. And now I’m on a four-fight winning streak and I’m fighting the number one contender, Thiago Santos, and I’m very excited to be that close to my goal again.”
While Teixeira possessed all the ingredients needed to fight his way back to a world title shot the veteran fighter wasn’t putting the right pieces together. Teixeira’s performances inside of the cage had fallen off before he made the necessary changes in late 2018. He was able to refine his skills and his approach to fighting in order to prolong his stay atop the light heavyweight roster.
“I’ve been more patient, used more head movement and with the help of so many people, I have to thank everybody at the PI,” he said. “It’s a big help, especially with guys my age, to help control the training. I was training too much and killing myself in training. And right now, I’ve been training smarter, and with the Trifecta sending us meals for the weight cut, I feel like everything is on point. There’s no stress. A few years ago, I had some camps where I was thinking in the back of my mind, I can’t wait until I retire. This is so hard. But right now, maybe I go like Anderson Silva to 45.”
Teixeira, who lost his lone UFC title shot to Jon Jones all the way back in 2014, was hoping to fight his way back into a rematch with “Bones.” But with Jones taking his talents to the heavyweight division and Jan Blachowicz sliding in to win the vacant 205-pound belt over Dominick Reyes this past September, Teixeira’s plans have changed.
“Jon Jones already beat me once and the goal was to get it from him,” said Teixeira. “The thing with Jon Jones is, he’s taking so long with every fight now. He fights for the belt and takes a year off. Jones was just taking his time. But eventually, if I get the title, who knows, maybe we get Jones.”
“That’s too much to think about right now,” Teixeira added. “Right now, I’m just enjoying the time. This fight puts me closer to the belt and closer to the goal. And hopefully after this fight, I’ll get a title shot.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 13 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ and ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET.