Glover Teixeira likes his odds against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. (In fact, you may be surprised just how heavily he favors himself if they were to fight.) But knowing the champ is likely to fight Alexander Gustafsson next, Teixeira discussed what other matchups pique his interest.
Teixeira, who’s won 19 consecutive fights overall and four straight since joining the UFC, awaits his next challenge following a first-round submission victory over James Te Huna this past month at UFC 160.
Teixeira (21-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who’s ranked No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA light-heavyweight rankings, knows he probably needs another win or two to get a crack at the belt, but if a Jones fight actually materialized?
“I am very confident,” he said this past weekend in Brazil. “If my next fight was against Jones, for sure I would go in to win. I give myself a 99 percent chance (of winning).”
But with fellow contender Gustafsson all but assured the bout, Teixeira is focusing elsewhere. One fight he’ll be watching closely? Saturday’s UFC 161 headliner between former big-show champs Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. But Teixeira also still has his eye on Ryan Bader, who was scheduled to fight the Brazilian at UFC 160 before an injury forced Bader off the card.
Just don’t expect Teixeira to fight ex-champ Lyoto Machida.
“One of the top fighters is Ryan Bader,” Teixeira said. “I was going to face him, but he got hurt. It could still be my next fight.
“But there’s also the winner of Rashad vs. Dan Henderson. I hope it’s one of those guys. I would not fight against Lyoto. He’s a great friend. I wouldn’t even think about it. And Gustafsson? is further ahead. I think he’s next in line. So I think it’s those three (Bader, Evans or Henderson). Whatever comes our way, we’re feeling confident.”
In addition to Machida, Teixeira said there’s another 205-pounder he has no interest in fighting – but for very different reasons.
As Teixeira sees it, Chael Sonnen is a nice enough guy. He just doesn’t see the former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight title challenger as being anywhere near the top of the division. Granted, Sonnen recently was booked for an August headliner with Mauricio Rua at UFC on FOX Sports 1 1 in Boston. But even if he were available, Teixeira said there’s little upside in fighting him.
“Chael Sonnen, in reality, I know him a bit,” he said. “He’s not that arrogant. He actually seems like a cool guy. I can’t say much because I don’t know him that well. But when I run into him at events, he’s very cool.
“He likes to talk a lot to sell his fights. I think he’s doing the right thing since he doesn’t fight so well. I do think he has good wrestling, but lately he hasn’t been fighting so well. And he had two shots at a belt because he talks a lot. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. If I fought him, he’d be tough to beat. But, right now, since he’s coming off two losses, I have zero interest in fighting him.”
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(Pictured: Jose Aldo)