The 41-year-old Teixeira is currently the No. 1 contender in the UFC light heavyweight division following a submission win over Thiago Santos in his last fight. The Brazilian has won his last five straight fights and many analysts thought he should have been next in line to fight UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Instead, the UFC decided to give the next title shot at 205lbs to Israel Adesanya. Blachowicz and Adesanya will now headline UFC 259 on March 6, with Teixeira flying to Las Vegas to serve as a backup for the fight.
Early this past month, Teixeira said he was considering volunteering for the spot depending on negotiations with the promotion. On Wednesday, he confirmed he had struck a deal with the UFC for the March event. While the company won’t pay his full purse, he will be compensated for his camp expenses.
Glover Teixeira talks about being the backup for UFC 259
While the fact he’s the backup is a good thing, some fans were curious why Teixeira isn’t booked to fight on the card when, for example, Santos is fighting Aleksandar Rakic instead. Speaking to AG Fight, Teixeira said that it was his own decision not to accept another opponent for UFC 259. For Teixeira, the only fight he will accept at this point is for the belt.
“When the UFC called me, I was asked if I wanted to fight on the same day. I said I wanted to stay in reserve and said I didn’t want to fight anyone at the event other than the belt. Anyway, I would fight a champion, since Adesanya is a middleweight champion too and it would be beneficial But I am sure that my next fight will be for the belt, even if I don’t enter it now,” Teixeira said.
Adesanya went 9-0 as a middleweight in the UFC, defeating the likes of Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Anderson Silva before deciding to add extra 20 pounds to face Blachowicz, who won the vacant title this past September by knocking out Dominick Reyes.
Being selected as a backup for UFC 259 gives Teixeira confidence that he will be next in line for the title in 2021, he said. Back in January, he joked he would be “rooting for an injury” so he gets another crack at the belt on March 9; his first title shot, against Jon Jones at UFC 172, ended in a lopsided decision loss.
Glover Teixeira has undoubtedly earned his title shot, and his body of work has aged exceptionally well in hindsight. His last performance against Thiago Santos proved that he has what it takes to make a crack at the title. However, it all boils down to the timeline of events for his eventual title opportunity.
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