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Glover Teixeira vows to ‘upset a lot of people’ with UFC Jacksonville win over Anthony Smith

Former title contenders Glover Teixeira (pictured) and Anthony Smith headline UFC Jacksonville.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Glover Teixeira had a perfect year in 2019, defeating Nikita Krylov by decision after tapping Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba. As he looks to go four in a row in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, he feels he has something to prove against Anthony Smith in the main event of Wednesday's UFC Jacksonville in Florida.

A veteran of the game with 37 pro MMA bouts in 18 years, Teixeira nears his 41st birthday as he aims for another shot at the promotion’s 205-pound king, Jon Jones. Smith is coming off a submission win over Alexander Gustafsson, and Teixeira sees him as the perfect match to show he’s still got it.

“Anthony Smith is super tough,” Teixeira told MMA Fighting. “I’ve been watching his fights since the Hector (Lombard) one. He’s had some highs and lows in his career, just like me. He’s really tough, but I believe I’ll upset a lot of people. I’m the underdog, many people talking about the old guy, but I’ll go there and win this fight, for sure. I’m very confident. I’ll go there to submit him or knock him out.”

One of those comments came from UFC president Dana White, who said in an interview with ESPN that the Brazilian is “definitely in the twilight of his career.”

“It’s proving a point to myself,” Teixeira said of White’s remarks. “I won’t come here and criticize a reporter and their opinion or Dana White’s. But, of course, I’m 40, man. I’ll turn 41 this year. I’m fighting at a high level and about to fight a super tough guy, but it’s time to prove to myself that I’m feeling great. Training is great; I love to train, no injuries. It’s time to prove to these people and to myself. But I won’t come here (and complain), because if I were in your shoes or in the spectator’s, I would say the same thing: ‘Oh, this guy is 40.’

“Of course I don’t have many fights left. That’s right. I plan on fighting. Honestly, having the success I had last year, I’m satisfied. I’m not satisfied with my career because I haven’t become champion yet, I still want one more chance for this belt. I’ll go after this victory, but I won’t fight for a long time with injuries or just fight for money. When I can’t have the same performance I’m having and beat these guys out there, it’s time to stop. That’s how I think.

“One or two more years, but it depends on the body. It could be sooner, or later. Who knows if I’ll be another one of those fighting until I’m 45? I don’t know. I’d love to fight until I’m 50, because I love this, I love being in camp, [and] this challenge of training during a pandemic. I love challenges.”

Teixeira had a total of four people helping him prepare for UFC Jacksonville – a lot less than he’s used to. Forced to adapt due to the coronavirus pandemic, he thought that certain limitations worked in his advantage.

“The camp itself was better (than the previous one),” he said. “The bad side is that we couldn’t train with many people, but I got to rest more. I trained well and fought well last time, had the perfect camp. I did some changes in my training last year, went to the (UFC Performance Institute) and followed their advice, and I’m feeling awesome.

“I don’t teach that much when I’m in camp, but I’m always in the gym. I love being there, but that sucks your energy, because you’re always chatting here and there, watching someone hit the bag the wrong way, and you go there to teach them. It was a lesson I learned for my future camps. I’m 40 and I won’t do many camps, but I’ll stay more at home for the next ones.”

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