Glover Teixeira may be 43 years of age, but he’s still got some unfinished business to take care of before he eventually calls time on his stellar career.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion challenges for the title once again in the main event of UFC 283, where he’ll face off against first-time challenger Jamahal Hill for the vacant title.
And, despite seemingly everyone being very aware of his most likely path to victory over the American knockout artist, he did nothing to try to throw a smokescreen over his tactics ahead of fight night in Rio.
“You know my style, man. I just gonna go in and grind,” said the Brazilian veteran.
“Of course, if the opportunity comes I’m gonna go for the ground. But, you know, they already know that I’m going for takedowns and that’s when I get a chance to get my hands in, you know?”
Teixeira lost the title to Jiri Prochazka in the 2022 Fight of the Year in a fight that he admitted ended up going against his own gameplan. And, talking to the press ahead of his bout at UFC 283, he said he’s keeping all avenues open as he focuses on victory on home soil.
“In the last fight with Jiri, the strategy was 100 percent takedown, takedown, and I kinda like got off my (gameplan),” he said.
“I hurt him with the right hand and I went for that guillotine.
“But this time it’s just like, focus on everything, believes in my hands, believes in my ground and go out there and grind. I don’t have a specific way I want to win, you know? I just want to finish the fight, anyhow.”
While Prochazka’s unorthodox, wild fighting style made for an unpredictable opponent last time out, Teixeira faces another man with prodigious knockout power. Hill has a slightly more traditional striking style, but carries arguably even more one-shot finishing power in his punches.
Hill was the major beneficiary of the drab draw between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev as the UFC swiftly booked him to face Teixeira for the still-vacant title.
But, despite not being the highest-ranked contender, Teixeira said Hill deserves his shot.
“He’s a dangerous fighter, you know? He’s improving,” said Teixeira.
“When they said Jamahal Hill, I had no question about whether this guy is down in the rankings or anything. I’ve never thought about that.
“I think Jamahal is up there, man. He’s a very dangerous fighter, a very great, good fighter. If you think about it, between Ankalaev, Jan, and Jiri’s out – he’s the next guy. It’s not my job to even think about this stuff. I just think it’s going to be a fun fight.”
With Teixeira firmly in the veteran stage of his MMA career, the “R” word has started to creep into conversations about the Brazilian. But, despite his 43 years, he said he still has plenty to keep him in the game, starting with claiming victory over Hill in Rio, then a possible rematch to settle the score with Prochazka once the Czech has recovered from shoulder surgery.
“You know, I’m taking one fight at a time,” he said.
“I’ve got to get past Jamahal Hill, but at the end, we’ll see.
“I don’t know about Jiri’s injury and how long it’s going to take to recover. But yes, I would love to have that fight again. I know the fans would love to see that fight again.
“We won best Fight of the Year 2022, and everybody wants to see that fight. His style is a good matchup, you know, because he’s aggressive, I’m aggressive and we go and grind it, man.”
As for retirement, he just smiled off the suggestion.
“There’s no plan in losing his fight and I’m not thinking like, ‘Oh, if I lose…'” he grinned.
“I’m just thinking I’m going to win the belt and I’m going to defend it and that’s my thought right now you know?
“It’s not really going into my mind about retiring right now. I’m in my prime, bro!”