Glover Teixeira turns 42-years-old today. Yet, today will not be a day filled with celebration and relaxation — Teixeira is gearing up for the biggest fight of his life on Saturday night at UFC 267. Likely, he’s in the midst of a massive weight cut to get down to the 205-pound light heavyweight championship limit.
This won’t be the first time the Brazilian native will be fighting for UFC gold, but, it will be far and away his best shot at actually attaining it. Teixeira put forth an admirable effort against Jon Jones back at UFC 172 in 2014, but really, did not have a true chance of winning that fight against a young Jon Jones — even at full strength (Teixeira tore the labrum in his right shoulder early on in the fight, rendering his best weapon useless).
At UFC 267, Glover Teixeira (32-7, 15-5 UFC) will look to put almost two decades of professional experience and an unparalleled grind up to the test once more against an ever-game Jan Blachowicz (28-8, 11-5 UFC) whom will be looking to defend his belt for the second time in Abu Dhabi. Teixeira and Blachowicz consider each other friends outside of the octagon and have many similarities in terms of fighting style, career trajectory, and personality, but you can guarantee that both will leave all of that in the locker room come Saturday night.
It’s a rare thing to see two such heavily-respected martial artists square off against one another in a UFC main event for a title, as fans are likely torn between choosing in their head whom they’d rather see win at UFC 267. One thing I can tell you for certain is that the state of Connecticut (where I was born and raised) is pulling extremely hard for its hometown hero, as Teixeira has gone above and beyond to make a difference in the MMA community in ‘The Constitution State’ (God, I loathe that nickname).
Teixeira surely has much to look forward to after his UFC career is over in continuing the work he started in 2014 at ‘Teixeira MMA & Fitness‘, but the 42-year-old believes he still has plenty left in the tank to capture this title and defend it for a while. You’d be hard-pressed to reasonably argue with him, or anyone, as to why that is not the case judging off of his recent performances.
On (another) five-fight winning streak (second time in the UFC, third overall), Teixeira has displayed dazzling finishing ability ever since doubling down on his standup in the latter portion of his career: to say it has paid dividends would be putting things mildly. Owner of a career 84% finishing-rate, Teixeira’s plan for Saturday night should be a simple one: finish the fight.
Jan Blachowicz has made a concerted effort to dial back his aggressiveness since becoming champion and will likely not give Glover many openings to do just that, yet, in a five round fight, there will always be chances. Whether that will come on the feet or on the ground remains to be seen. Throughout his career, Teixeira has centered his strategy on going wherever the fight takes him and he will have to follow that mindset on Saturday.
The Danbury, CT resident has shown the ability to finish fighters on the feet, with smothering wrestling and ground and pound, and with flashy submissions. Blachowicz is about as tough and well-rounded as it gets, so this will be no easy task. Yet, Blachowicz has been finished once before in the UFC against Thiago Santos back in 2018: so, it is possible. Teixieira will have to be the aggressor and take risks, often, in this fight if he wants to see his hand raised.
This is not to say that Glover cannot fight his way to a smart decision win, but, that just does not seem like his best path to victory. Whatever that path ends up being, Teixeira can etch his name firmly amongst the greatest light heavyweights of all-time with a win in Abu Dhabi. Right now, Tapology currently does not list Glover in its top-15 all-time light heavyweight rankings (Jan Blachowicz has vaulted all the way up to #4).
With a convincing win and a UFC world title added to his current resume, Glover Teixeira would undoubtedly be on just about everybody’s top-ten best light heavyweight of all-time rankings, though — that is what is at stake this Saturday night. For reference, the 38-year-old Blachowicz was not featured in any GOAT rankings before he won the title very late into his career; the same can happen for Teixeira.
It’s truly hard to think of any current fighter in the entire UFC promotion that is more deserving.