• UFC 153

Teixeira wants two more fights before Jon Jones

ESPN staff
October 11, 2012

First Quinton Rampage Jackson pulled out due to injury, then Rashad Evans said no, citing lack of preparation time. Whatever the reasons, real or imagined, there is a perception brewing that UFC light-heavyweight want nothing to do with Glover Teixeira.

The hard-hitting Brazilian is aware of the excitement surrounding his entry into mixed martial arts' biggest promotion. But he isn't caught up in the hoopla. Teixeira tunes out the hype machine. This is MMA, the most gruelling fight game, and he views himself as the consummate fighter.

He might be in his infancy as a UFC combatant, but he is no novice to this sport. So while veteran fighters approach him with caution, he understands their reasoning, though it might not be in agreement with his own fighting philosophy.

"I understand where they're coming from," Teixeira told ESPN. "I've just come into the UFC; I've only had one fight in UFC. Those guys have been in there for a long time.

"But it's kind of weird. I come from the camp of Chuck Liddell, and he never ducked a fight. Whatever guys do that, they feel is best for their careers. I'm not judging. It doesn't matter to me, I'm just going to keep fighting and get my name out there."

Teixeira (18-2) makes his second Octagon appearance on Saturday night at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro. And he will enter the HSBC Arena against Fabio Maldonado with the same workmanlike attitude that has transformed him into one of the most talked-about UFC newcomers in years.

Maldonado is a late replacement for Jackson, but taking on a new opponent does not concern Teixeira. It's a regular occurrence for him. Teixeira has fought in Brazil many times, and getting a change of opponent on short notice, sometimes less than 24 hours before a fight, is commonplace. It's situations like this that helped shape Teixeira's competitive mindset.

Besides, Maldonado's style is similar to Jackson's. Teixeira isn't one to guarantee victory - he is too seasoned a professional to do that - but this fight on Saturday is being viewed as another day at the office.

"I've seen his fights and he's a good boxer," Teixeira said. "I don't see anything that's truly special, but he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, either. He's a tough fighter. I was training for Rampage, who is more of a boxing guy, now I'm facing Maldonado who is also a boxer. So things haven't changed too much, just the strategy a little bit."

Barring an unforeseen circumstance or freak injury, Teixeira is expected to find success on Saturday night and move a step closer towards an inevitable 205lb title shot. Most believe that fight will be against current titleholder Jon Jones.

Despite his limited time in UFC, Teixeira has already surfaced as the biggest threat to Jones' reign. Teixeira has the UFC light-heavyweight championship on his to-do list, but wants all his ducks to be in a row before facing Jones.

It has nothing to do with gaining cage experience or fine-tuning his skills, Teixeira already possesses those qualities; he wants to fully capitalise on such a potentially huge event. That means increasing his profile with UFC fans.

"I want to have a couple more fights in the UFC," said Teixeira, a well-round mixed martial artist who owns solid striking and submission skills. "I want to build up a good fan base.

"I'm ready to face anybody in the UFC right now - that's my confidence. But I have to show where I come from. I just have to keep fighting and show people."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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