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Smothering UFC 208 win has Glover Teixeira feeling apologetic: ‘I have to step up my game’

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One of the UFC’s top light heavyweights picked up another win on Saturday night, but it’s not one he seems to be feeling too happy with.

MMA: UFC 208 Teixeira vs Cannonier Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

To have a long and fruitful UFC career you have to win fights. There is no more central truth than that. But, entertaining fans is a very close second. Win enough bouts by ugly, smothering decision and the UFC has a history of taking the first opportunity to pull the trigger on ending a fighter’s contract.

Maybe that’s not what Glover Teixeira is worried about after UFC 208, but following only his second decision win in twelve fights under the promotion, the top-ranked light heavyweight wasn’t just unhappy with his performance, he was apologetic (transcript via MMAJunkie).

“I apologize for that,” Teixeira said during the post-fight press conference. “It was not the way that I like to fight, not the way that I like to finish my fights. But I had to deal with a little situation back in camp and I had to play it smart for this fight, man, coming out of a loss to Anthony Johnson, and adjust my game a little bit.

“But yes, I understand that I have to step up my game and work on that speed and boxing if I want to fight the top-five contenders like (champion Daniel) Cormier, Johnson and (ex-champ Jon) Jones. I have to step up my game, for sure.”

Teixeira has been dealing with shoulder problems stemming from a torn labrum, an injury that may go all the way back to his 2014 bout with Jon Jones and the shoulder crank Jones put on him. But even given that injury, Glover seems to feel that he should have performed better:

“I wasn’t that happy with my performance,” Teixeira said. “I’m a guy who always looks for the finish and, after the fight was over, I saw some opportunities in which I could have finished. And that’s what I’m going to work on. I’m going to work more on my jiu-jitsu submissions. I’m very confident in my jiu-jitsu, but I work a lot with the ground-and-pound and wrestling, so I have to work my jiu-jitsu, and also work my boxing.

“I’m a guy who looks to put the pressure and come out with the knockout or the submission. I think a fighter like Jared is a great fighter, very strong and difficult to finish, but (against) a fighter like him I should have come out with the submission or the knockout.”

Currently, Teixeira sits as the no. 3 ranked LHW in the UFC. Daniel Cormier, who was on ringside announcing duties for UFC 208, made a few remarks in favor of the Brazilian’s contender status, as Teixeira is a fighter he has yet to face in the top 5. And, while Anthony Johnson and Jon Jones are clearly ahead of him in line for the belt, title contention at 205 has been anything but predictable.