Glover Teixeira is reporting that an accidental eye poke he incurred during his loss to Alexander Gustafsson on Sunday, played a role in the fight, but only in the bout’s opening stages.

Teixeira battled Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 109 on Sunday, which went down in the latter’s hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. In the opening frame, Teixeira took a finger to the eye, and was clearly (understandably) bothered by it. The Brazilian light-heavyweight, however, opted to continue, and as the fight wore on, Gustafsson’s footwork and boxing began to dominate the action. Finally, in round five, “The Mauler” put Teixeira away with a vicious flurry of punches.

Since then, the 37 year-old Teixeira spoke with MMA Fighting to discuss the one-sided fight. During the interview, the heavy-handed fighter had this to say about the eye poke he took early on:

If I tell you that that didn’t disturb me, that’s a lie,” Teixeira said. “Everybody knows, a fighter or not, that getting poked in the eye like that, it was strong, so that disturbed me. But if I had gotten knocked out right after that, I’d definitely blame it. I went back in there without seeing anything. I was seeing three Gustafssons. It was all blurry, but I thought I’d have five minutes (to recover).

“I don’t know if you saw this, but I told the (referee) ‘of course I’ll come back to fight, but I need a time to, I don’t know, rub my eyes, wait to recover’. But he said ‘you get no time, you get no time. Or you’re good to come back or you’re not.’”

Per Haljestam for USA TODAY Sports

Now, if you’re thinking Teixeira’s just tossing out excuses for the defeat, hold up. The veteran fighter went on to report that his vision was back to normal by round three. In addition, Teixeira also praised Gustafsson for his speed, and said that the Swedish star was “better”.

Teixeira did say, however, that he doesn’t think he would have been knocked out necessarily, if not for the eye poke. But, Teixeira also relayed the following message to the light heavyweight contender:

“Congratulations to Gustafsson. He fought me in the best shape of my life, no injuries whatsoever. I have no excuses.”

And as far as Teixeira not receiving any additional time to recover from the eye poke? Well, since UFC Fight Night 109, Mark Goddard, who officiated the fight, is reporting that fighters only receive 5 minutes of recovery time for groin strikes. Not eye pokes. So this is why Teixeira was asked, soon after taking the foul, whether he was good to go or not.

All this aside, it’s going to be interesting to see where Teixeira goes from here. The bout marked the second time in Teixeira’s last three fights that he’s been stopped. Prior to his quick, KO loss to Anthony Johnson last year, Teixeira hadn’t been finished since 2002.

So, when you consider Teixeira’s age, and the level of talent at 205 pound, you have to wonder if a title run is still possible. There’s no doubt that Teixeira still hits like a truck, and that he’s ridiculously dangerous on the ground as well. So, it might be a bit early to count Teixeira out just yet, but another loss would be a massive setback.

Do you think the noted finisher can climb his way back into a championship fight?