Glover Teixeira's experience is evident ahead of his UFC 172 showdown with Jon Jones.
Speaking with Bleacher Report, Teixeira remained calm and jovial, accepting the challenge ahead with a confidence born through 12 years of professional action.
The Brazilian powerhouse has lost just twice in his 24-fight professional career, and he last tasted defeat nine years ago, in March of 2005.
Since then, Teixeira has won 20 straight fights—18 via knockout or submission—in a remarkable streak that landed him a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against the virtually undefeated superstar Jones.
"I've trained so hard for this fight—for 12 weeks I did this camp—and now I'm ready," Teixeira told Bleacher Report. "I believe in my skills, and I'm going to get inside the Octagon with power and speed and slaughter this guy and beat him."
|Ryan Bader||UFC Fight Night 28||Win||TKO, Round 1|
|James Te Huna||UFC 160||Win||Submission, Round 1|
|Quinton "Rampage" Jackson||UFC on Fox 6||Win||Unanimous Decision|
|Fabio Maldonado||UFC 153||Win||TKO, Round 2|
|Kyle Kingsbury||UFC 146||Win||Submission, Round 1|
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Besides representing the pinnacle of mixed martial arts achievement, winning the belt would give him the opportunity to shine pride upon his home country of Brazil. Teixeira is well-aware of this dynamic, but he also feels eager to take the belt somewhere else, somewhere stateside.
"It's a dream for me to get the belt, to be a champion of the UFC, and to bring it to Brazil," Teixeira said. "But also, (15 years ago) I moved and lived in the United States, in Connecticut...I'm going to bring the belt to Brazil for sure, and I'm going to bring it to Connecticut as well. They all cheer for me, and there's going to be a bunch of people from Connecticut in Baltimore watching this fight. So I'm bringing this belt to them as well."
Before any of this comes to fruition, though, he must win his battles inside and outside of the cage.
Unlike before his previous bouts, Teixeira has undergone random drug testing ahead of his 205-pound title fight due to a request that came from his opponent, Jones. Although drug testing remains a hot-button issue within the sport of MMA, and some fighters are vocal about it, saying they're not getting a "fair shake" due to steroid use, Teixeira joked and lightheartedly explained the situation from his point of view.
"I'm not taking anything, believe me...unless coffee is illegal," Teixeira said. "I'll tell you three things I take right now: I take fish oil, and I take multivitamins and a protein shake... They (the Maryland State Athletic Commission) have already come like five times for this fight. I have no problem with that."
With one obstacle out of the way, Teixeira's next task is a 6'4" MMA virtuoso who goes by the name of "Bones."
For Teixeira, the game plan to break this man is clear: hit him, and hit him hard.
"I'm going to do my thing, what I love to do: I'm going to hit him hard, man," Teixeira said. "I know Jon Jones is a great fighter, and I have great respect for him as a person, but as a fighter, I'm just going to go over there and beat him up."