When others didn’t, Glover Teixeira saw in Jan Blachowicz a champion in waiting, the Brazilian has revealed.
The duo, who will face off for the light heavyweight crown this Saturday, has spent much of UFC 267 fight week doling out wholesome amounts of respect for each other. Blachowicz has said that he’ll be wary of the wily “old fox” Teixeira, noting that his advanced years are an asset, rather than a liability. And he who wields the Legendary Polish Power even sang “Happy Birthday” for Glover at the UFC 267 press conference.
Now, Teixeira has dispensed a little love back at the champ. Speaking at a fight week media scrum, the 41-year-old revealed that he knew Blachowicz would become champion even before he stepped into the Octagon with Dominick Reyes in September last year.
“I told my friends that he was gonna win that fight [against Dominick Reyes],” said Teixeira. “I told my friend. I said, ‘Hey, Jan’s gonna beat Reyes.’ Because everybody talk about Reyes. Reyes walk around like he’s the champion already, and Jan just come humble and relaxing. And I [said] to my friend, ‘Hey, he’s gonna be champion.’ I remember saying that.”
It hasn’t, however, been all bromantic gestures between the duo. Blachowicz has said that he’ll knock Teixeira out with one punch, while Glover told media that “somebody is going to get hurt, and it’s going to be Jan Blachowicz.” They are, after all, going to be locked in a cage to fight for UFC gold come Saturday.
Teixeira And Blachowicz: Achieving Success In The Twilight Of Their Careers
The mutual respect between Teixeira and Blachowicz is no doubt a product of their similar career trajectories, with both experiencing unlikely late resurgences. Blachowicz has won nine of his last ten fights, and last year became the oldest light heavyweight champ in UFC history, doing so at 37-years-old. Prior to his current run of form, the Pole lost four in five—a career low that at the time seemed insurmountable.
Glover’s, too, has been a tale of overcoming adversity against all odds. Following his defeat to champion Jon Jones in 2014, the Brazilian lost four of his next five fights, which included a 13-second KO to Anthony Johnson. Many believed Teixeira would never recapture his form of old. But now, Glover’s riding a five-fight win streak, and if successful this weekend, will become the oldest light heavyweight champ in UFC history.
Who do you think will be crowned light heavyweight champ at UFC 267?