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Glover Teixeira: ’There Was a Time I Thought I Would Never Be a Champion’



For Glover Teixeira, winning the UFC light heavyweight title was a goal that was 20 years in the making.

After one unsuccessful championship bid in 2014, Teixeira was stuck in a contender’s purgatory for approximately four years, going 5-5 in UFC competition. At that point, it looked like Teixeira’s time to become a champion had passed, particularly after a lopsided loss to Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 134 in July 2018.

Teixeira has since rattled off six consecutive triumphs, culminating in Saturday’s second-round submission of Jan Blachowicz in the UFC 267 headliner at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. With the win, Teixeira became the 14th light heavyweight champion in promotion history

“It feels so amazing,” Teixeira said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “[I’m] so happy. This is what I dreamed for 20 years. Twenty years on the road, ups and downs, I wanted to get this belt. I wanted to be a champion. There was a time there that I thought I would never be a champion, but I love it.

“I keep believing. I discipline myself the way I have to do it, and now I won this baby.”

Teixeira had a conversation with UFC president Dana White following his championship victory, where he reminisced about his circuitous path to the Las Vegas-based promotion. At one point, Teixeira nearly made it on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“They did tryouts for ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and I was there at the trial, and I passed everything,” Teixeira said. “I passed the pad work, and they did a grappling match and I submitted the guy. I went to the interview and Dana liked me. He was like, ‘Oh, you train with Chuck Liddell?’

“That’s when I was going to be in the UFC in ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ at that time, and I got held up because of my green card, because of my situation. Eight years later, I got in the UFC and 10 years later, I got this belt. It’s a long road, it’s a long journey.”

Teixiera admitted that the life of a fighter isn’t always all that glamorous, especially when one runs into obstacles like he did over the course of his career.

“You put in the work,” Teixeira said. “You put so much work towards it, so much discipline. Like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] said: The life of a fighter is pretty much a life as a prison because you have to put yourself in that position – avoid a lot of things, avoid birthday parties and friends getting together and just stay isolating yourself from all the distractions if you want to really get good and be a champion.”

In all likelihood, Teixeira’s next opponent will be Jiri Prochazka, who served as an alternate for the UFC 267 light heavyweight title bout. The 42-year-old knows it will be a difficult test but before focusing on his first title defense, Teixeira would like to spend a little more time basking in the championship glow.

“(Prochazka) is a very tough guy, man,” Teixeira said. “He’s very awkward, but a very good guy. He is a different story, but definitely a tough opponent. It’s all tough opponents here, but I’m definitely looking forward to fighting him. But right now I’m really looking forward to drinking that beer than Jan gave me and enjoying some time off.”

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