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If Gustafsson isn’t ready, Glover Teixeira wants next title shot with UFC Winnipeg win

Glover Teixeira hopes to meet the winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir if he defeats Misha Cirkunov at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg on Saturday.

If Alexander Gustafsson cannot take a fight anytime soon, Glover Teixeira wants to fight the winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir for the UFC light heavyweight title should he get past Misha Cirkunov at UFC on FOX 26.

Teixeira, who lost to Gustafsson via fifth-round TKO in his last bout, understands that “The Mauler” is ranked above him for a reason. But Gustafsson underwent shoulder surgery in November and will be sidelined until early summer 2018. If the Cormier-Oezdemir winner is willing to make a quick turnaround, Teixeira wants to be the champion’s challenger.

“As of right now, Gustafsson is injured,” Teixeira told BloodyElbow.com. “He had shoulder surgery. I think I am next in line after DC and Volkan. Unless they are gonna wait for Gustafsson, but who knows when he is gonna come back. I believe that Gustafsson is ahead of me — he beat me last fight — but he’s injured. So I have to be the next guy.”

If Teixeira, ranked No. 3, beats Cirkunov, ranked No. 7, and subsequently gets the winner between Cormier and Oezdemir, who fight at UFC 220 in January, that would mark his second crack at UFC gold. The Brazilian lost a lopsided title fight against longtime champ Jon Jones at UFC 172 in April 2014.

Since that fight, Jones has been in a world of trouble outside the cage. He tested positive for cocaine metabolites after a fight opposite Cormier in January 2015. He was involved in a hit-and-run accident in April 2015, and was subsequently stripped of the championship. Jones then failed a drug test ahead of a planned rematch vs. Cormier at UFC 200 in July 2016. Most recently, he tested positive for a banned substance in a drug test related to UFC 214 at which he knocked out Cormier to win back the title. Later, “DC” was reinstated as the division’s titleholder.

What does Teixeira make of all this?

“Jon Jones is out of the game right now, he’s gonna be out of the game for four more years,” Teixeira said. “I think he shouldn’t [use banned substances]. It was a shame that he did it, especially against Cormier, a much older guy than him. He didn’t need it. He has the youth, the height, pretty much everything. Why does he need more? Why does he need to cheat? I just think it’s silly. That’s what younger people do — (they make) bad mistakes. I hope he learned from it. He’ll come back, he’ll still be young. Hopefully he doesn’t do it anymore.”

Gustafsson said earlier this week he still considers Jones “the real champion,” despite his missteps over the years, but Teixeira doesn’t agree with his former foe.

“He’s out. He failed a test. A true champion don’t do that,” Teixeira said. “I believe that Jon Jones was a champion, but right now, Cormier is the champion. He lost the title to Cormier, he lost outside the ring, he lost because he cheated, so that’s bad. I don’t know what he did, but he lost the title.

“A true champion don’t do that. A true champion is a true champion. They go fight and win or lose, give it their all. Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, they did all that; they didn’t get caught on that sh-t. He’s not the champion. He’s not the true champion. He can be the champion. I think he has the possibility and skills, all the advantages for him to become the champion again. But I don’t consider him the champion now.”

As far as who Teixeira thinks he’d face if given a title shot with a win over Cirkunov in Winnipeg on Saturday, the 38-year-old is picking Cormier.

“[Oezdemir] hits hard,” Teixeira said. “Obviously, he got a couple knockouts. Cormier has to be careful, but Cormier is the more experienced guy. He’s been in five rounds many times. I think Cormier is gonna bring him to the deeper water. Anything can happen, but I think Cormier will keep the title.”