EXCLUSIVE: 'S**t, I can't hurt this guy', Teixeira on 2014 Jones fight
EXCLUSIVE: ‘I thought, “s**t, I can’t hurt this guy”‘: Former UFC champion Glover Teixeira opens up on how he felt facing prime Jon Jones back in 2014, and embracing retired life after hanging up the gloves
- Glover Teixeira retired after losing to Jamahal Hill for vacant belt in January
- Brazilian enjoyed remarkable career and can now sit back and reflect on it
- The 43-year-old fought the best of the best, including a young Jon Jones
Glover Teixeira was the UFC most dangerous old warhorse for the last four years but can sit back now, feet up, and reflect on his magnificent career.
The Brazilian hung up his gloves in January having been beaten by a young thoroughbred, Jamahal Hill, for the vacant light-heavyweight title in Brazil.
And Teixeira, 43, says his family are delighted by the decision, even if it was somewhat unplanned.
‘I don’t have to think, “I have to spar this week, or grapple this week”, it’s just more chilled you know,’ Teixeira said speaking in his official role as a Stake.com ambassador.
‘I’m enjoying getting back to training… retired life is different, just going to work out today, but it doesn’t have to be at the right time, I can take it easy, I can go for a run, go on a bike, whatever just for myself.
Glover Teixeira retired after his defeat by Jamahal Hill (right) at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro
A post shared by gloverteixeira (@gloverteixeira)
Teixeira fought Jon Jones back in 2014 and admits he is the hardest fighter he competed with
‘My family is the most excited about it man. There was no plan to retire but right after the fight, it didn’t go my way, I was all beat up, all cut up, I just thought “it’s time, I don’t want to do this any more”.
‘If I’m not fighting for the championship, I don’t want to be just fighting. The family are so excited, my wife loves it, in a fight week I could see how tense she is.
‘My mum, we have a family WhatsApp group and in fight week she doesn’t talk too much in the group because she’s just nervous but it’s cool, they’re all happy.
Teixeira basked in an Indian summer to end his career, reaching his very best in his late thirties and early forties.
But it was a somewhat ignominious start, a whopping 43 fights ago, and the future UFC champion would lose his first professional fight.
While his skills might not have upgraded at that point, his rock solid mentality and unshakable nature was there and he wasn’t particularly fussed.
He added: ‘Back then I just wanted the record to look better, like, “Oh man, I’ve started with a negative record and see those guys who started like 5-0, 10-0”, and I started with a loss!’
‘I got to 1-1 but lost the third fight to go 1-2 and it took me a while to get on track, but it never really bothered me because I was so young in the game and I knew I had to work more, I was too excited, too fast.’
Teixeira was gracious in defeat and congratulated the new champion as he was crowned
Teixeira would of course emerge as a light-heavyweight force in the UFC with a few more miles on the clock than most, given they refused to sign him up until his visa status in the USA was approved having travelled to the country illegally across the border.
But once he arrived at the big show, he quickly established himself as one of the most reliable performers.
He can look back now at a CV that with some incredible names listed, none more so than the man of the moment, Jon Jones.
Jones, who in most fans’ eyes cemented his status as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, by winning the vacant heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285, met Teixeira in 2014.
The American was only in his mid twenties but his fight against Teixeira was already his eighth title defence.
Teixeira remembers the puzzle Jones presented and picks him out as his toughest opponent from a career spanning more than two decades.
Jones was dominating the light-heavyweight division at the time he fought Teixeira
Teixeira defied the odds to become the UFC’s second oldest champion ever at UFC 267
‘Jon is sneaky man, he is hard to hit. And I didn’t feel like I hurt him,’ he explained.
‘Of course, some other fights like Anthony Johnson were quick, but even in fights that I lost there were times that I felt like I hurt the guy or that I could win. You always think, “if I fight him again, I could do this differently or explore something more”.
‘If I fought Jamahal Hill again, I’d explore more leg kicks. Jon Jones was the hardest guy because I felt like I didn’t hurt him. Everything I threw, I was like “s**t I can’t hurt this guy”.
‘I kicked Jamahal’s heels and leg and he felt it. With Jon Jones I couldn’t get anything, it was tough. He was my hardest opponent.’
‘Bones’ ended up winning a unanimous decision that night and hasn’t even been legitimately beaten so there’s no shame in the defeat.
And while Teixeira is retired now, he is still inspiring the next generation and helping mould champions such as Alex Pereira, his close friend, training partner and UFC middleweight champion.
His Brazilian compatriot faces Israel Adesanya in a huge rematch this April. With 22 years of experience in the game, there’s real wisdom to impart.
If Teixeira can have anywhere near the success in the corner as he did in the octagon, Pereira should be hanging on every word.
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