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Glover Teixeira holds up his light heavyweight championship belt in Singapore, June 2022 (Photo by Harrison Green/Zuffa LLC)
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Glover Teixeira Is The Definition Of A Champion

After Breaking Through At 42 Years Old, Glover Teixeira Chases The Toughest Fights With Happiness In His Heart

Glover Teixeira earned a victory lap. 

Two days after his 42nd birthday last October, the Brazilian veteran shocked the world with a second-round submission of Jan Blachowicz that earned him the UFC light heavyweight title more than seven years after his first crack at the crown against Jon Jones in 2014.

It was the feel-good story of the year – or most years for that matter – but Teixeira wasn’t interested in touring the world with his new belt or asking for a less dangerous foe for his first title defense. He looked at Jiri Prochazka, who was at Octagonside in Abu Dhabi as the backup for the UFC 267 main event and announced his plan to the world.

“Come up here, buddy. You’re next.”

Top Coaches Break Down Glover vs Jiri

In one sentence, Teixeira showed anyone who didn’t know him who he was. And for those just tuning in, that’s how he’s always been since turning pro in 2002.

“I wanted to be the best, and I wanted to fight everybody,” said Teixeira, who meets Prochazka in the main event of UFC 275 this Saturday in Singapore. “I see people as a person. I didn't like when Shogun (Rua) didn't want to fight me in my second fight (at UFC 153) because he said I didn't have enough of a name. I didn't like that because it's an opportunity. It doesn't matter. And listen, that's not my job. I see the situation, like I said about Jan, and Jiri. Jiri was there. He cut the weight, he was there, I said he's next in line, let's go. I didn't care. He's good, he's the number one contender right now, and he was a very tough fighter, so yeah, I want to fight him, I want to prove myself, and I want to show that I fight everybody, and I'm gonna beat him and prove once again that everybody's wrong, and that's how I like to do things. Challenge myself and go after it.”

It seems like the simplest thing in the world, and the way the fight game should operate. But it doesn’t. Sure, when it comes to the best fighting the best on a consistent basis, the UFC has boxing beat by a mile, but there are still some fights that fall apart before they even get to the contract stage. That wasn’t going to happen with Teixeira, who makes it clear that when he retires from the sport, he won’t be chasing the job held by UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard.

Glover Teixeira And Jon Anik: Full Sit Down Interview | UFC 275
Glover Teixeira And Jon Anik: Full Sit Down Interview | UFC 275
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“If the UFC offered me an opponent, I'm gonna take it, because that's not my job to make fights; that's their job,” he said. “They do a pretty good job with that. Look at the UFC. So what am I gonna say? They say, ‘Hey Glover, you're gonna fight this guy.’ Let's go.”

RELATED: Jiří Procházka Ready To Take The Crown

And here he is. It was a long trip from his home in Danbury, Connecticut, to Singapore, but he’s not complaining. It’s one of the things he’s learned over the years – to be careful what you wish for.

“You can't be negative about it. I keep telling the people all the time in my gym, you gotta set your goals and know what you have to do. A lot of times we set big goals in life, and then you're like, ‘Oh s**t, what did I get myself into?’ (Laughs) You set goals and do what you have to do to get it done. And do it with happiness in your heart.”

Happiness is a good way to describe the MMA community’s reaction to Teixeira’s title-winning effort. That’s not a knock on Blachowicz, another one of the good guys of the sport, but when Teixeira got his hand raised after a long, hard road to the top, if you didn’t smile, you left your heart back in customs.

Order UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Prochazka“I was beyond happy,” said Teixeira of finally reaching the goal he had been pursuing for two decades. “It's like I can't even express that moment. I set that goal 20 years ago and 20 years is not 20 days or 20 months; it's 20 years. You see kids grow, like oh s**t, this kid was a baby when I saw him. (Laughs) So it's a great feeling, it's an amazing feeling. And I felt the love; I really did. You can plan and imagine going to the top of Mount Everest and imagine how it's going to be. But when you get there, something happens. It can be worse or it can be better. And for me, to be honest, it was better. Seeing the love of everybody - the security guys, the media, all the backstage people, all the people that really make it happen - it was incredible. It was amazing.”

Glover Teixeira | Bonus Résumé
Glover Teixeira | Bonus Résumé
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And though he didn’t have a fight scheduled until now, following his career-defining (to this point) win, Teixeira didn’t stop moving, going on the road to work with his fighters while also making sure he had time for the over 300 students at his Teixeira MMA & Fitness gym in Connecticut. Then it was time for the “real” work as he prepped for Prochazka. It’s a big fight and a dangerous one, but then again, aren’t all fights dangerous for the incumbent titleholder? That doesn’t mean we won’t ask what’s on Mr. Teixeira’s agenda after this weekend. And outside of a barbecue at his home this summer, he does have plans, but first things first. It’s another thing he learned, perhaps from John Lennon, who sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

“I do have things in mind, but when I started just living in the present, my life just flew by and got so much better,” Teixeira said. “I’m just being in the moment and not planning too much because, in reality, we can never plan anything. Let tomorrow take care of itself. But if there's a perfect scenario in life, I'm gonna defend this belt in Singapore, and I'd love to have one more fight in New York in November. I told Jan, he's number two and it looks like he's gonna fight for the title next because he fought Rakic and beat him, and now I can see that it's the perfect scenario. And then maybe retire.”

UFC 275 Fight By Fight Breakdown

Too soon, Glover?

“I gotta think about the kids, man,” he laughs. “I can't be fighting all the time with those young guys.”

Main Event Preview | UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Prochazka
Main Event Preview | UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Prochazka
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True. So when it’s all said and done, whether this year or in three years, what does he hope his legacy in the sport will be?

UFC 275 COUNTDOWN: Full Episode | Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka | Valentina Shevchenko vs Taila Santos

“In this career, you want to be a good fighter, but also to be remembered,” he said. “Is Glover one of the bad ass tough fighters who's up there with those guys? As a fighter, I'm always going to be remembered by that. You can't deny that, like it or not. Like Colby Covington - you like him or not, you can't deny the fact that he's a great fighter. And people are not gonna say that about me because I'm nice, they're just gonna say it because it's the truth, and I feel good because of that.”

Order UFC 275: Teixeira vs. Prochazka

UFC 275: Teixeira vs Procházka took place on Saturday, June 11, 2022, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!