For Glover Teixeira, fighting in the UFC was worth the wait.
In his first three fights for the organization, which include an upcoming UFC on FOX 6 bout against former champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, he's accomplished three goals: fighting in Las Vegas, fighting in his native Brazil, and soon, fighting on network TV.
"Things are happening fast in the UFC now," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMA Radio, UFC Radio - MMAjunkie Radio
). "It took me a while to get to the UFC, but I'm pretty happy with how things are going."
Teixeira's long-awaited UFC debut was continually delayed by visa issues. But since his arrival this past year, he's posted a submission victory over Kyle Kingsbury and gruesome TKO win over Fabio Maldonado. That moved his current win streak to 17 fights, which have included 16 stoppages.
That opened the door for Teixeira (19-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) to fight Jackson (32-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC), who's likely fighting in the UFC for the final time due to his constant clashes with UFC management. Jackson, who's lost two straight (to Jon Jones and Ryan Bader), actually requested the Teixeira fight, which takes place Jan. 26 at Chicago's United Center. While there have been some hints at bad blood between the two main-card fighters, Teixeira doesn't feel that way.
"It's just business," he said. "Quinton is a great a fighter. I loved to watch him fight back in the day. I still like to watch him fight. He's a funny guy. I'm just going to go over there and take care of business."
And any trash-talking or disrespect? Teixeira said it's simply confident in his own abilities.
"You know me," he said. "I don't do that. I've got confidence. I'm going to go over there and put on a great fight for the fans and try to knock him out. It's my opinion. It's not going to change."
Even before Teixeira's days in the UFC, many fans knew about the 33-year-old from his short stint in the WEC and his constant presence in former UFC champion Chuck Liddell's corner. Teixeira said he still sees Liddell often, and the UFC Hall of Famer often swings by the gym simply to watch him spar.
"Just having him watch me, that's a big help, you know?" said Teixeira, who gets advice from his longtime training partner.
Liddell's days of fighting, of course, are over. He'll still suit in the gym occasionally, but the toll of his remarkable career finally caught up to him as he neared his 40th birthday. Teixeira has about a half-decade before he reaches that point.
However, as he saw in his bout with Maldonado, who took a massive amount of punishment before finally succumbing to third-round shots, Teixeira knows he has to expect such grueling affairs now that he's in the world's most prominent MMA organization.
"Maldanaddo was tough," he said. "I knew he was hard to put away. I knew it was going to be a tough fight. With the ground and pound, I could feel his nose cracking. I could feel like the bone breaking. I was like, 'This is not going to stop.' And he was still fighting back. Big heart, tough guy.
"But sometimes I wish the guys wouldn't be so tough because of their health and everything."