Glover Teixeira had his 20-fight winning streak snapped by Jon Jones and Phil Davis in 2014, but sees a five-round clash with Ovince Saint Preux as the perfect opportunity to show he’s a different fighter now.
The Brazilian veteran, who fought for the UFC belt in on April 26, 2014 against "Bones", headlines UFC Fight Night 73 this Saturday in Nashville against Saint Preux, and isn’t bothered by recent losses.
"People ask me how I’m dealing with those fights and losses, but I have a good head," Teixeira told MMAFighting.com. "I lost my first professional fight, but came back and won fights until I fought for the world title. I’m confident, and I’m well trained."
Teixeira isn’t bothered by his recent losses, but admits those fights showed him he had to fix a few things in his training.
"We changed a few things, my diet and training, adapting to new techniques. We’re always learning and adapting," he said. "I’ve never changed my training before, despite the fact that I was getting older, but I did it now. I’m lighter and faster, and my weight is good.
"I almost didn’t cut weight for this fight. I just dehydrated a bit this week, 11 or 12 pounds, and it was easy. For my last fight, I had to cut 30 pounds in 10 days. It’s not something easy to do, especially when you’re older."
While Teixeira looks to bounce back after two straight losses, St. Preux tries to move one step closer to the title following a pair of first-round knockouts, including a 34-second win over former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua.
"He beat ‘Shogun’ the way he did, so I don’t need to say anything about him," the Brazilian said. "He’s an explosive fighter, I can’t sleep in front of him. That same thing happened with me against (Fabio) Maldonado, when I was beating him up and he caught me with a big punch, but I won’t let this happen against him. I will keep my hands up and do the right strategy. Put some pressure, take him down. He has heavy hands, but you can see his striking isn’t technically perfect. He throws his arms, but he’s explosive and hits hard."
Even though he’s fresh off two big knockout finishes, Teixeira believe St. Preux could go for takedowns at UFC Fight Night 73.
"I think he might try to take me down because of the way I lost my last fight, but this is MMA," Teixeira said. "I’m well prepared for this fight. I brought in some great striking and jiu-jitsu guys, and I trained wrestling with ‘King Mo’ Lawal, so I’m ready wherever the fight goes."
"I will put some pressure and connect hands," he continued. "I won’t fight like I did against Phil Davis, when I was kind of waiting for that one big knockout punch. I will throw more combinations, move better this time. It’s hard to say, but I will be happy with the win no matter how it comes. Ground and pound TKO, submission, knockout, that’s what matters to me. I want to prove I’m a different fighter inside the Octagon on Saturday."
With Jon Jones out of the title picture and current champion Daniel Cormier facing Alexander Gustafsson next, Teixeira believes he can get another crack at the title with one or two wins -- especially now that Ryan Bader is close to the belt.
"I beat Ryan Bader, and that beautiful knockout got me a shot at the title. That’s the kind of thing that puts you close to the top," Teixeira said. "I even told Cormier on UFC Tonight to shine that belt really good because I'm coming. I’m here to challenge the champion. I never called anyone out. I will fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me, but the guy I want is the one with the belt, and that’s Cormier right now."