While he’s had just four fights in the UFC, Glover Teixeira‘s incredible power and craft submission skills have already made him a top contender in the promotion’s light-heavyweight division. While the humble 33-year-old hasn’t yet pressed the issue, he wants to make sure everyone understands it’s not because he’s not ready for the challenge.
“When I said I didn’t think I had done enough to earn a title shot, it wasn’t because of my confidence or my skills,” Teixeira told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “When I said that, it’s because I’m new in the company. But I think I have the skills to go over there today and fight for the title and fight Jon Jones.”
Teixeira (21-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) can certainly take a step in that direction in September, when meets Ryan Bader (15-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 28, which takes place at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It’s Teixeira’s first time headlining a UFC event, and while the Brazilian-born fighter is always one to keep his emotions in check, he admits it’s a special opportunity.
“Some people, the way I talk, they can’t tell my emotions,” Teixeira admitted. “But I’m very excited to be in this main event. That was one of my dreams to be one day in the UFC main event. Even if it’s not for the title, you’re still in the main event for the biggest and best company on the planet. So it’s special to make it there.
“Not many people are going to make it to the main event in the UFC. So for me, this is very exciting. But sometimes I talk about it, and people are like, ‘You don’t sound excited.’ But that’s just the way I talk and express myself.”
For Teixeira, there’s even more reason to be excited. While he currently resides in Connecticut, he was born and raised in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and he’ll have family attending one of his fights for the very first time.
“My mom’s not going to watch,” Teixeira said with a laugh. “She never watches. My dad watches all the time on TV, but he’s never watched a live show. He’ll be there, as well as my brother and sister.”
Brazilian fighters have built an incredible UFC record competing against foreign fighters on Brazilian soil. At least some of that probably has to do with the travel to South America. Unfortunately for Teixiera, his journey will likely be as long as Bader’s, so he won’t get to claim that advantage. Still, he’s excited to fight in his home state.
“The travel is a pain,” Teixeira admitted. “I mean, I don’t mind fighting anywhere. My favorite place is Las Vegas. But I’ve never fought in Minas Gerais, my home state. This time I’m going to be fighting in my home state, and I’m very excited. My family is going to be there for the first time. The trip is a little long, but that’s part of the job.”
But the ultimate goal, of course, isn’t just to headline an event, and it isn’t to fight on home soil. The ultimate goal is to win a title.
Current champ Jon Jones is slated to meet top Swedish contender Alexander Gustafsson just 17 days after Teixeira meets Bader. Teixeira currently sits at No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA light-heavyweight rankings, but a win would see him move to 5-0 in the UFC and build his overall win streak to an incredible 20 fights.
Teixeira won’t look to force the UFC’s hand; it’s simply not his style. But he also hopes they’re paying attention, and he’s confident he’s ready to challenge for the title.
“My skills and my confidence, I’m ready to fight for the title tomorrow,” Teixeira said. “I’m ready to get the title. If Gustafsson gets hurt – and I hope he doesn’t, I don’t want that for anybody – but I’m always there. If I don’t get hurt in the Ryan Bader fight, I’ll fight Jon Jones.”
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 28, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.