The Jury Is Still out on UFC's Glover Teixeira
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
On May 25, 2013, UFC light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira made quick work of James Te Huna at UFC 160. The Brazilian earned Submission of the Night honors by placing his opponent in a tight guillotine choke just two minutes, 38 seconds into the first round.
However, although he’s making a name for himself among the 205-pound ranks, and despite the massive hype that shrouds the Brazilian, it still may be too soon to label Teixeira a legitimate threat to Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title.
Teixeira’s Lack of Quality Opponents
A great amount of buzz started to surround Teixeira following Dana White’s comments on June 8, 2012. During the UFC on FX 3 post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani , the UFC president exclaimed that MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua would have preferred a release from the UFC rather than fight his Brazilian counterpart
White stated (via MMA Fighting): "Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy (Teixeira). We're trying to match the guy up with somebody, but he (Rua) didn't mind fighting Brandon Vera, so he's fighting Brandon Vera."
While Teixeira would have jumped at the opportunity to place Rua on his list of defeated foes,
in the Brazilian’s four fights within the UFC, he has only fought one top-10 opponent in Quinton Jackson.
For two combatants who prefer the stand-up game more than anything else, their bout at UFC on Fox 6 was uneventful, slow and sloppy. However, Teixeira garnered the win via decision and went on to fight a non-top-10-ranked contender in Te Huna at UFC 160.
Teixeira’s last four UFC wins were against three light heavyweight contenders who were not ranked in the top 10, and one who barely made the list (Jackson). Also, the UFC’s current ranking of Teixeira as the No. 4 contender in the light heavyweight division appears to be quite questionable and promotes a fighter whose resume of nameless fighters reflects more hype than substance.
Believer of His Own Buzz
Having barely fought anyone in the top 10 of the light heavyweight division, immediately after his win at UFC 160 against Te Huna, Teixeira declared to Fox Sports his willingness to fight Jones.
“Hey, if they (UFC) have any problem, I'm here. Whatever they do, I'll be happy to get in the Octagon again as soon as possible if they need someone. If they have trouble finding an opponent for Jon Jones, I'm here.”
Teixeira’s eagerness to fight for a world title is understandable. The Brazilian is 33 years old, and future title shots may be harder to come by. However, setting aside the hype and digesting the facts surrounding the juggernaut that is the light heavyweight champion should humble any fighter.
With one more win, Jon Jones will be deemed, at least statistically, the greatest light heavyweight fighter the UFC, and perhaps the world of MMA, has ever seen. For the most part, Jones wins his bouts in devastating fashion, sports an 83 percent finish rate and has beaten five former world champions in the process. He’s the youngest UFC champion, and only appears to improve with each fight.
Jones is on the verge of clearing out the light heavyweight division, leaving only superfights and/or a shift to the heavyweight division. On the other hand, Teixeira sports an outstanding record (21-2) and is undefeated within the UFC. However, he lacks the quality of opponents who would prime the Brazilian for someone like Jones.
In the end, the buzz surrounding Teixeira will more than likely secure him a title shot.
At the same time, the UFC light heavyweight champion, Jones, has been known to defuse the hype surrounding any man. This includes those with more limelight exposure and UFC experience than Teixeira—a la former light heavyweight champions Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Rua, Jackson and, of course, perennial gatekeeper Chael Sonnen.
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