Former UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira was cageside for the UFC 282 pay-per-view (PPV) main event because the Brazilian was expected to battle the winner of Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev at some point in early 2023. But the UFC 282 headliner ended in a split draw, leaving the strap vacant (because of this), so a frustrated UFC President Dana White hastily booked Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill for the loneliest title in combat sports at UFC 283 next month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
I guess he wasn't disrespected after all.
“I keep saying this to everybody: People stress for no reason,” Teixeira told MMA Underground (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “Everybody asks me if I got mad. Of course I got upset on the day that I found out I’m not going to fight for the title, but I said, ‘I’m not going to let this bother me. Let’s live life. I’m healthy, I’m happy, life is great. I’m fighting for the belt [against] one of the winners.’ Because that’s the thing, I deserve to be here. I work my ass off, I fight my ass off, and here I am. Let the universe take care of things and do the right thing. Keep focused on your goal and the universe will take care of the rest.”
Tell that to light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith, who got screwed in the deal.
“In my mind I was thinking the whole time, ‘This fight, [needs to] turn around quick. The UFC needs a main event in Brazil. They might get one of those guys to fight in Brazil,’” Teixeira said. “Nobody said anything, but I was thinking that. But then it comes to the third round when Ankalaev had both legs hurt and Jan had a cut over his eye and I was like, ‘Okay, I guess Brazil is not going to happen.’ Then when I see Ankalaev winning the fight, I said, ‘Well, he’s going to win but it’s not going to be in Brazil.’ Then the craziness happens, that decision that nobody understood. But hey, like I said, let the universe take care of things. Glover, you’re fighting in Brazil. Let’s go! They just called me backstage, I got there and talked to Hunter and Mickey and they asked me and I said, ‘Let’s go.’ Before they said the opponent. They said, ‘You want to fight in Brazil for the belt?’ I said, ‘Let’s go! Whoever.’”
The new assignment will present a unique set of challenges. Hill, 31, is coming off three straight wins — all by way of knockout — including last summer’s fourth-round finish over Thiago Santos at UFC Vegas 59 in Las Vegas.
“He’s an incredible guy. Tough, tough opponent. Very good fighter,” Teixeira said. “I’m just excited to be training for this, training to get the belt back, prove I’m the best in the world. That’s what I’m here for. I’m very excited. I just want to go out there and fight the best. I wish we had a winner in this fight, but let’s go. Vacant title is still on the line, and that’s it. You can’t take something from a man when he earns it. The vacant title was my shot. [Now] I’ve got to do the work. The universe did it, now I’ve got to do my part and train my ass off and take the belt and make history.”
UFC 283 takes place on Jan. 21 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 283: “Teixeira vs. Hill” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.