Veteran, one-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger, Glover Teixeira may have been overlooked for the next 205-pound title shot by promotional brass, but that hasn’t deterred the Minas Gerais native from possibly offering his services as a short-notice backup.
Slated for UFC 259 in March, incumbent light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz puts his crown on the line as he battles division mover, current middleweight pacesetter, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya in a champion vs. champion ‘superfight’.
The winner of a stunning five consecutively, 41-year-old striker, Teixeira was briefly linked to a title matchup with Blachowicz following his eventual showdown with Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos at UFC Vegas 13 in November. Battling through a bout of COVID-19 to make the walk in a rescheduled pairing, Teixeira, the consensus underdog rallied from an opening-round scare to submit his compatriot in the third-round with a rear-naked choke.
Given his age and status as a longtime top-contender, Teixeira pleaded with promotional president, Dana White afterwards to warrant him his second title siege under the UFC’s banner, however, the organization eventually landed on City Kickboxing ace, Adesanya as Blachowicz’s first challenger.
The current lie of the title picture hasn’t stopped Teixeira noting his willingness to make himself available to the promotion as a potential short-notice backup to the UFC 259 clash, and if his services aren’t required, the Brazilian would look at the situation as more ‘glass half full’ rather than empty, with another useful camp potentially under his belt.
“Of course,” Teixeira replied when asked by MMA Fighting reporter, Guilherme Cruz if he would entertain the possibilty of competing as a backup. “I’ll be rooting for… [laughs] it sucks. I’ve never rooted for anyone to get hurt, but I’ll be rooting for an injury there [laughs]. I just got back from vacation, so I’ll talk to ‘Joinha’ (manager) (Jorge Guimaraes) and see what we’ll do, but (being a backup) is a possibility. I would have to do a full camp so, even if I have to wait, at least I did a camp, I won’t lose rhythm. Like you said, COVID(-19) is complicated, you really have to pull out if you catch it.“
Extending his unbeaten run at 205-pounds to five straight, the #1 ranked contender had main evented UFC Fight Night Jacksonville in May, completely decimating former title challenger, Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith from the second-round onward on his way to an overdue fifth-round stoppage.
With four finishes from those five wins, Smith also submitted both Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba before a split decision triumph over former Fight Nights Global titleholder, Nikita Krylov.