The cool phrase in mixed martial arts these days is “stay ready.” No getting out of shape between fights, no staying away from the gym, and always being able to say yes if a call comes to be a late-notice replacement.
Glover Teixeira could have invented that phrase, so when his manager Ed Soares called him five weeks ago to see if he would have enough time to replace Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and fight Rashad Evans this Saturday in Tampa, you know what the answer was.
“I was already training,” Teixeira said. “I had a couple guys that were gonna fight, so we were getting ready and I was training hard. When Ed called me I was doing conditioning in the gym at night and he said ‘Hey, five weeks?’ I said perfect. I didn’t have to get anything together and it was so easy. I feel like I was already in camp.”
It’s the benefit of training at home for Teixeira, who has his own gym and team in Danbury, Connecticut, and a far cry from the days when he was traveling for every camp. That can be a draining experience – not necessarily from a physical standpoint, but from a logistical one. But those days are over.
“After the Phil Davis fight, I just changed my whole lifestyle,” said Teixeira, who is 2-0 since his decision loss to Davis in October of 2014. “Now I’m fighting and I’m having a great time doing this. I really am. A few camps ago, I was stressed, I had to travel, I had rent an apartment, figure out my camp, bring guys over, but now I have so many guys over here already that I’m not even using them all.”
And while some fighters need to get away to prepare properly, Teixeira is enjoying sleeping in his own bed and spending time with his family while getting ready for a fight. It’s the benefit of being 36 and mature in the sport and in life. So the million dollar question is, would he have accepted the Evans fight on five weeks’ notice if he had to go through the old routine of traveling and putting a camp together?
“I would,” he laughs. “It would be a little harder for me, but I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I was already in the position of ‘when are they gonna call me to fight?’ I wanted to fight so badly, so I would have taken it no matter what. But it is easier that the gym is here. I’ve got a good thing going on right now.”
Not surprisingly, a day after receiving the news that his fight with Evans was being elevated to a five-round main event instead of a three-round co-main event, Teixeira was unbothered by the idea of possibly having to fight another 10 minutes this weekend. For him, whether it goes five minutes or five rounds, he still has to fight.
“You gotta do what you gotta do,” he said. “I have no excuses. Three or five rounds, it really doesn’t matter to me. I actually like to see more of a fight, and it’s one of those things where I’m always ready for whatever. Three rounds, five rounds, it doesn’t make a difference to me.”
Having prepared for five-round fights in three of his last five camps doesn’t hurt either, and though he’s only been the 25-minute distance once, in a title fight loss to Jon Jones in 2014, Teixeira is familiar with territory Evans has also traveled in the past.
“I prepared for Ryan Bader for five rounds, the same with Ovince Saint Preux,” he said of two five-round bouts he won, stopping Bader in one round and submitting Saint Preux in three. “So the preparation is almost the same. I want to be in top shape and sharp, and the sparring you do for five rounds is a little different, but I think it’s very fair. Rashad didn’t know, I didn’t know either, so we’re gonna go over there and battle. He’s a good fighter, I have a lot of respect for him, he’s been the champ for a reason, and he’s a complete fighter. So I’m excited for the fight.”
It’s impossible not to like the classy Teixeira, and the same goes for Evans. The two even like each other. But there’s still a fight to be had on Saturday in Tampa, with plenty on the line for both. So they’re going to fight.
“I’m just down to Earth,” Teixeira said. “I don’t have any beef with anyone in my division. Rashad has been very respectful and I like that. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight or beat the s**t out of each other. We’re gonna go in there on April 16th and fight. We’re both going to try to finish, we both have power and we have the potential to finish. It’s going to be a battle.”