Glover Teixeira Living the Dream & Bringing a Nightmare to UFC

Duane Finley@duanefinleymmaContributor IOctober 11, 2012

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

If you follow the sport of MMA with any consistency over the past four months there is a good chance you have heard the name Glover Teixeira mentioned a time or two.

The Brazilian powerhouse has quietly been building a name for years, but the buzz surrounding his impressive UFC debut victory over Kyle Kingsbury has been amplified tremendously over recent weeks.

This is due in large part to several of the 205-pound weight class' biggest names refusing to accept a fight with the Brazilian UFC newcomer.

Former champions Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Rashad Evans each passed on a potential matchup with Teixeira; Rua refused to fight him in August after injury left him without an opponent at UFC on Fox 4, and Evans was unwilling to fill the void left by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's departure from the upcoming card at UFC 153.

When news of their turning down the offers made headlines, the hype surrounding the John Hackleman-trained fighter cranked up.

Those decisions could have been made for good reason, as Teixeira is on a 16-fight winning streak with all but one of those victories coming by way of stoppage. He has a well-rounded skill set, carrying a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and proven knockout power in his striking game.

Since entering the UFC he appears to be on the fast track to contention in the light heavyweight division and in order to keep the momentum going, he will need to get past Fabiano Maldonado this Saturday night at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro.

It has been a long road traveled for Teixeira to reach the sport's biggest stage and he has every intention to make as much impact as possible with every showing.

"Everything happens for a reason," Teixeira told Bleacher Report. "It took me so long to get to the UFC, but when I got here everything happened so fast. Then they mentioned all those big-name fighters who could potentially fight me and it is just exciting. I think positive and it's great to be in the UFC. This is my dream.

"Those other fighters not taking the fight doesn't really matter to me because I have to be focused on the fight I'm in. I can't let those things bother me and I think of all of them as future opponents. They can duck me now but they are going to have to fight me sooner or later."

While there was chaos due to the Jackson injury and the vacancy of opponents that followed, Teixeira didn't allow the turbulence to knock him off course. He remained focused on his training and put faith in the UFC to find him another opponent. As the card in Brazil drew nearer, the organization named Maldonado as Jackson's replacement.

"It wasn't much of a big deal in the changing of my opponent," Teixeira said. "Lately there have been a lot of things happening in this sport and you have to be prepared. I was already training for Rampage. We are professionals and I think we have to be ready for a change like that. It happens a lot more in this sport nowadays and you have to be ready for anything.

"I think it's going to be a good fight. Maldonado is a tough guy. He has good defensive jiu-jitsu and defends takedowns pretty well. His boxing skills are good but you have to remember this isn't a boxing match. You aren't going to box the way you would in a regular boxing match because you have to worry about kicking, takedowns, and everything else. Those things are going to take away your skills a little bit. We'll see what is going to happen. I'm excited for this."

For Teixeira, the table is set for another big jump up the ladder in the UFC. Although Maldonado does not carry the weight of a name like Rampage Jackson, being featured on a pay-per-view portion in only his second UFC bout speaks measures.

It doesn't hurt that the event takes place in his homeland of Brazil. The country is considered the birthplace of the sport and the energy surrounding the event has Teixeira primed for performance.

"It's great to be able to fight on a UFC card in Brazil," he said. "The people here are so excited. We went to open workouts and my adrenaline was pumping like I was going to fight. It is great to be fighting over here. It's going to be a good experience and I can't wait.

"I'm coming to fight and I'm coming to finish the fight. I learned from my friend Chuck Liddell a long time ago that you fight for the fans. That is how you are going to be remembered forever. You have to fight to excite the fans and that is what I'm going to do."