More importantly, Teixeira believes he’s earned the right to fight Blachowicz before middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who’s been penciled in for a crack at the 205-pound champion sometime in the near future.
“Yeah man, no doubt,” Teixeira said when asked about jumping to the front of the line after his third-round finish at UFC Vegas 13, which took place Saturday at UFC APEX. “My last five fights, I got four finishes against top contenders. The last two guys went to decisions with Jon Jones, and I was able to finish them.”
Teixeira is referring to Santos and Anthony Smith, whom he brutalized in his performance prior to Saturday night. At 41, the Brazilian is enjoying the kind of surge that fighters 15 years his junior dream about.
“I just keep getting better and keep learning,” Teixeira said. “Keep an open mind, and live in the moment, and love what I do. Discipline myself, and hard work.”
A granite chin probably doesn’t hurt. During the fight, Santos hit Teixeira with punches and elbows that might have stopped opponents with less ability to take punishment. Even then, Teixeira said there were moments were he felt like he was in trouble. On two occasions, he was dropped by shots.
“In the first round, it was a little rough, because he was very explosive,” Teixeira said. “I think it was more my mind that was like, ‘Holy sh*t, I’ve got to get out of here.’ But in the third round, when I got dropped, it was more I was off-balance, and I was able to see everything, the ground and pound.
“When the ref said I won, they said it was 1:45 seconds, and I was like, ‘I thought it was 4:30,’ because it felt like a long time on the bottom there.”
Teixeira was able to capitalize on Santos’ initial expenditure of energy and take over in the second round.
“I felt he was getting weaker, so I knew I was going to catch him,” he said.
Among those with strong praise for Teixeira’s amazing rally and finish was Jones, who initially was expected to move up to heavyweight but recently pondered an extended stay at light heavyweight, where he’s dominated for almost 10 years.
My mind is blown right now, don’t even know what to say— BONY (@JonnyBones) November 8, 2020
Jones handed Teixeira a lopsided decision loss in 2014. But the Brazilian said revenge isn’t his priority.
“On my mind is Jan Blachowicz,” Teixeira said. “He’s the champion, and he’s who I want to fight.”
Blachowicz did signal he’s willing to face Teixeira if Adesanya wants to fight before March 2021. Immediately after Teixeira’s win, he told the Brazilian “you totally deserve to fight for the title and get [a] taste of the #LegendaryPolishPower.” UFC President Dana White also said of Texeira that he’s “not wrong” for demanding the next title shot.
For now, Teixeira will rest and heal up his face, which is sore from taking Santos’ punches. Later, he’ll see whether time improves his argument. He’s already got a good head start.