There is a slight feeling that Glover Teixeira will not be playing at home in Brazil again.
It’s been almost three years since UFC opened shop in Brazil, but that all changed this week. Saturday brings UFC 283, where Teixeira (33-8) will face Jamahal Hill for the advanced vacant lightweight title.
A year ago, it was Teixeira who held the belt. Then came UFC 275 in June, where Teixeira won most of the five rounds, but Jiri Prochazka was late.
A rollercoaster ride of twists and turns ensues: Prochazka vs. Teixeira 2 is booked at UFC 282 in December. Prochazka was injured and forfeited his title. Teixeira declined short notice to replace Magomed Ankalaev. Ankalaev turned to face Jan Blachowicz – and it was a draw.
The light heavyweight title is up in the air. Fans weren’t the only ones surprised by the incident, which led to Teixeira’s match against Hill being booked this weekend.
“I’ve been surprised for the last two months. I’ve been really surprised by everything that’s happened,” Teixeira admitted at UFC 283’s media day on Wednesday. “But hey, we started working in August and I started talking about ‘hey, let’s fight in Rio, Jiri’ and Jiri [Prochazka] Don’t want to fight here. All these things happened and here we are. We’re with Jamahal Hill now, so let’s get started. “
Teixeira believes that Hill is a dangerous fighter who deserves his position. “Jamahar is up there. He’s a very dangerous fighter, a very good fighter. If you think about it, between the absence of Ankalaev, Jan and Jiri, he’s the next one.”
Teixeira, who raced alongside Hill at age 43, is the sport’s veteran statesman whose late-career revival has surprised many. Ahead of his latest gold win, he revealed the secret to his success.
Compared to his last fight in Rio, “I’m a different fighter now. The discipline is 100 percent, man,” Teixeira said. “I remember my game against Phil Davis [in Rio in 2014], my way of life. I have no idea. I wouldn’t say “seriously” because I always take fighting seriously, but I’m like that pattern – train hard, fight hard, party hard. And now I’m kicking the party out, which is why I’m still here at 43, fighting at the top level. “
So be it: stop partying, young fighters.
In his younger days, Teixeira looked up to the fighters who sat next to him these days.
“I’ve always looked up to older fighters like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson. Now here I am, man, fighting at the highest level, bringing fight of the year, belt at 42. Hopefully at 43 It’s time to win the belt again and make history. Of course, I love being the motivation for the youngsters.”
Watch Glover Teixeira’s full UFC 283 media day appearance above.