A lot can be achieved in thirteen seconds. Or, I should say, a lot can be achieved in thirteen seconds if you punch as hard as Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Thirteen seconds, remember, was all it took for Johnson, in August 2016, to land a right uppercut on the chin of Glover Teixeira, end their much-anticipated light-heavyweight fight and simultaneously slam the brakes on his Brazilian opponent’s career. It was, for Johnson and everyone in attendance at UFC 202, as memorable a thirteen seconds as they are ever likely to experience. For poor Glover Teixeira, however, the impact of those thirteen seconds, his unlucky number, would, to his annoyance, last much longer.
It was, after all, the defeat every fighter fears. It is the defeat that sees them not only beaten but wiped out before they’ve even got round to throwing a punch. It is the defeat for which they will always be remembered, no matter what they later go on to achieve.
“It sucked,” he told Fighters Only in the days leading up to Sunday’s (May 28) fight with Alexander Gustafsson. “I lost a fight I was supposed to win, a fight that was supposed to get me next in line for a title shot. But I didn’t get it. I had to wait. I had to get back in the gym and start working again. Now I’m here and it’s the same situation pretty much. I need to win this fight to get the title shot.
“I’m not going to say it’s the lowest point of my career because if you say that it makes it sound really bad. But it wasn’t nice, man. I didn’t like that at all. I got caught with one punch. It wasn’t like I was getting beaten up. Of course, I was very upset, but it wasn’t like he beat me so badly I started to doubt myself or think, oh, man, I don’t have it anymore. I’m getting tired.
“It’s just a thing that can happen with anyone. Every time we step into the Octagon one of those punches can hit you, especially in the light-heavyweight division. We’re all big guys and we can all punch. One punch changes everything. I was upset but it wasn’t like I sat back and thought, man, what am I going to do now? I just thought, you know what, I’ve got to go back, train and get back to winning fights.”
The Teixeira rebuilding process began in February of this year when he defeated Jared Cannonier over three rounds at UFC 208. It had been a long six months between Johnson’s uppercut and his mauling of Cannonier. Six months Teixeira, 26-5, wanted to fast-forward through; six months he wanted to put behind him. Now, though, having got himself back in the win column, the 37-year-old Teixeira is once again looking up.
“It was a good fight,” he remembers of his clash with Cannonier. “I stuck with the strategy and that was to take him down and ground-and-pound him. Of course I tried to finish the fight but I knew he would be a hard guy to finish. I saw some of his fights and he doesn’t get finished that easily. I was happy with the strategy and the performance. It was good. I got no damage, nothing. You can’t be upset when that happens.”