UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira is hoping to be smart and use his wealth of experience when he faces the challenge of knockout machine Jiří Procházka.
In one of the most unlikely crownings of 2021, only pipped to the post by Julianna Peña in that regard, Teixeira reached the 205-pound mountaintop at the age of 42. In the main event of UFC 267 last October, the Brazilian took on Jan Blachowicz for the belt.
The Polish powerhouse secure this place on the throne by knocking out Dominick Reyes in 2020, and handed Israel Adesanya his first professional MMA loss in his first defense in March 2021. With his form in mind, not many backed Teixeira to upset the odds.
But in the second round in Abu Dhabi, the term ‘age is just a number’ manifested itself into a rear-naked choke, one that helped Teixeira join Randy Couture in the 40+ champions’ club.
In 2022, Teixeira isn’t planning on slowing down. He wants to further cement his place at the top by defending his title. If he’s to do so, he’ll have to get past a surging European with KO power across the board, be it in his elbows, hands, or feet.
Teixeira: “I Don’t Have Too Many Secrets”
Given the task he has ahead of him at UFC 275 on June 11, many will be wondering how Teixeira plans on approaching a contest against a striker as unique and unorthodox as Procházka.
For the champ, the answer is simple: prepare and fight smart.
During an interview with BT Sport’s Caroline Pearce earlier this year, Teixeira acknowledged the danger his Czech foe possesses, especially with his movement and creative standup game. But the Brazilian believes he simply has to be smart with his approach and do what always does; finish the fight.
“He’s a very good fighter. He’s very dangerous because he moves and throws strikes in all different ways,” Teixeira said. “I’ve just gotta be smart about this fight and do my thing. What I do is just get in there and finish the fight.”
While a smart game plan will no doubt be key come his first title defense, Teixeira says his immense experience on MMA’s biggest stage will undoubtedly prove to be a benefit against a relative newcomer like “Denisa.”
“Experience is a benefit, you can’t deny that. For sure it’s a benefit that they’re (other contenders) young and explosive and they train, but it’s one of those things where what they’re doing now, I’ve already done it,” added Teixeira. “So, right now, I’ve just gotta be smart and do my thing. Like I say, be smart about it; do my training the way I’ve been doing lately. And I don’t have too many secrets. You see my fights, you know what I’m going to do.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 275, Glover Teixeira or Jiří Procházka?