The former light heavyweight champion wants to see Pereira to live up to his full potential, which means not ceding a round to the now-former middleweight champion.
“I’d like to see that fight again just to make some adjustments,” Teixeira said on The MMA Hour. “Alex, he’s crazy, man. He watches the fight every time he comes to my house. We hang out all the time. We don’t do too much stuff, but we hang out – I call him and go, ‘Hey Alex, what are you doing, man? Bring the kids, I’ll make some hamburgers, we’ll hang out.’ I like to hang out and talk s***. But he sits down in front of the TV and says, ‘Hey, can you put my fight on?’ I’m like, ‘Bro, we’ve already watched that fight like 500 times.’ And he keeps watching it. [He says], ‘Right there, you see that Glover?’
“I think that fight happens right away right now, I think Alex would beat him all the rounds. That’s why I want to see it again. If the UFC asked me, Glover, you decide it, I say let’s do it with Adesanya again, because I want to see Alex beating this guy. Nothing against Adesanya. The guy does an incredible job. Just as a fighter, as a coach, as a friend, I just know he can beat him, and probably not lose a round.”
Adesanya was ahead 3-1 on judges’ scorecards before his improbable fifth-round comeback at UFC 281. Teixeira leapt into the octagon over the fence, overcome with joy, to congratulate his student. Pereira came to Teixeira’s Danbury, Conn., gym two years ago with a long kickboxing resume – and two wins over Adesanya in the squared circle – but underdeveloped MMA skills.
“I think if Alex had won the fight the way I won the belt [against Jan Blachowicz], like go in there and beat him in the first round, or go in the second round and knock him out, I wouldn’t be so crazy about it,” Teixeira said. “But the way the fight was going, I kept telling him, ‘C’mon Alex, you’ve got to pull the trigger, man.’ Because I know his potential. I know his power.”
Pereira stopped Adesanya with a flurry of shots for a standing TKO. In the wake of the fight, UFC President Dana White welcomed an immediate rematch, though he didn’t sketch out a timeline for the bout.
With the new champion having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, would-be contenders took advantage of the moment. Welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev, a sometime middleweight, volunteered to move up in weight to take on Pereira and capture another belt. The callout got an immediate response, prompting Pereira to claim Chimaev turned down a light heavyweight fight at UFC 283.
Teixeira was taken aback by Pereira’s sudden shift.
“This fight is all talk,” he said about Pereira vs. Chimaev. “I usually don’t get into talk that doesn’t make any sense, but to light heavyweight, this guy says he accepted it. I remember Alex calling Jorge and saying, ‘Hey Jorge, let’s fight in Brazil.’
“I said, ‘What are you doing? You fight in Brazil? Your legs are hurt. You kicked so much, your shins are hurt. You haven’t recovered. Just chill for a while.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, but this guy’s talking, I’ll fight him at 205. I don’t want to cut the weight.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you can’t cut the weight.’ ... Alex is a very strong mind.”
Teixeira does foresee a time when Pereira will physically be unable to make the middleweight limit.
“Eventually, yes,” he said. “He’s much too big, and eventually, that weight cut is going to stress him out and he’s going to talk about 205. ... When we started doing wrestling workouts with him, he started getting muscles, massive. He got at least 10 to 15 pounds of muscle before he started doing the wrestling. Before, he used to do the kickboxing, running, kickboxing, so it was more like cardio. Now, he’s got to do all these weights, sprawl, all these crazy things, and he’s getting bigger and bigger.”
But right now, Teixeira wants to see the new champ make an even bigger statement, and the opponent for that is Adesanya.