After ten years in the sport, a near perfect record, and visa issues that would make any grown man cry, hardcore MMA fans finally got their wish this past Saturday night at UFC 146 when Glover Teixeira took to the octagon and marked an amazing victory off for his already stellar record, bringing it to 18-2. There were some doubters, some talk that his delayed arrival to the big leagues was 3 years too late, but he silenced that talk and let a beautiful, first round arm-triangle choke over Kyle Kingsbury speak for him. In a recent interview with TapouT Radio, Glover talked about finally making it to the UFC, and what he hopes the future will bring.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: How does it feel to finally be in the UFC?
Glover Teixeira: Feels good, especially after a victory like that. It's great. The organization is great, and it allows me to fight the best guys in the world.
Interviewer: Your entry into the UFC has been anticpated for a long time, but visa issues held you back for a few years. Do you feel like you missed out on some of your prime years because of that?
Glover Teixeira: I don't know. To tell the truth, I think it's a good time. I've got the experience now. Even with it being my first fight in the UFC, I wasn't nervous at all. I was very calm and relaxed, maybe because of all my fights before. Things happen for a reason, so I'm happy with the way everything is going. The past is the past, and I can't go back in time to change anything. I'm just happy that I'm here now.
Interviewer: Many hardcore fans have stated that you are the answer to the Jon Jones riddle, and will be the one to dethrone him. What do you think of that kind of praise, so early into your UFC contract?
Glover Teixeira: It's hard to say about that. I mean, I have more fights than Jon Jones. In boxing, you have to have 20-30 fights worth of experience before you get aligned for a title shot. Now, in the UFC, Cain Velasquez was the champion with only nine fights. I think I already have the experience, and maybe in two or three more fights, they'll give me a title shot. It also depends on who I beat, who they're going to put in my way.
Interviewer: Since you ended your fight so quickly, have you asked to fight again as soon as possible?
Glover Teixeira: Yeah, I did actually. I told them I'm available to fight any time and anyone they put in my way. I can't be choosing my opponents right now, but I will be happy to fight whoever they give me. The ssoner the better. I'm taking a couple days off and flying to Holland to help Pedro Rizzo, who is going to fight Fedor Emelianenko. I'll be there with Pedro and Peter Aerts and those guys, so I'll be in shape. If they call and say, 'Hey we've got a fight lined up for you right now', I'm just gonna say "Yeah, ok, I'm ready.'
Interviewer: Have you told the UFC to set you up with tough opponents to prove yourself ready for a title run within a few fights?
Glover Teixeira: In the UFC, it's about names. Every fight is hard, and everybody knows all the disciplines. Some might know more than others. You just see the big names. Some guys that are just starting out might fight better than the big name guys. I really don't care. I just want to prove to myself and to the fans that I deserve to be in the UFC. I'll fight whoever they give me. A big name would be better, because it will give me a jump in my career, but it's not something I'm actively looking for. It's whatever comes.
Interviewer: Can you explain what were the issues with getting your visa?
Glover Teixeira: It's hard to say. I would go and they would say you need this paper or that paper, and it kept going on and on like that. By the time everything went through, three years went by. It's crazy. I've been waiting for this for the longest time, and it's been my hardest fight.
Interviewer: If you get invited back to ADCC next year, do you think you'll go back and compete again?
Glover Teixeira: I don't know. Abu Dhabi is next year, and I'm focusing on the UFC now. If it's getting close to a fight I might have, I'd rather not, because I don't want to risk getting hurt, because my main focus right now is the UFC.
Interviewer: Is there anyone in the division that you may have a friendship with that you don't want to fight?
Glover Teixeira: Right now, the one I wouldn't want to fight is Lyoto Machida. I've trained with him, I help him out and he's a great guy. I just arrived in the UFC, and I'm not really in a situation to say no. Whatever they tell me to do, I'll do, but if I could have a say, Lyoto would be the one I wouldn't want to fight.
Interviewer: Is there anywhere in the United States that you would particularly like to fight?
Glover Teixeira: New Jersey would be good, because it's close to my town where I live right now in Connecticut.
Follow Glover via his Twitter, @gloverteixeira