Your turn, Glover Teixeira.
The Brazilian light heavyweight is the next of the 205-pound class to test Jon Jones in the Octagon for the champ's gold hardware. With the exception of Matt Hamill and a disqualification from an illegal elbow, all before Teixeira have failed in their attempts to top “Bones.” The path of decimation left by Jones leaves few with the confidence that Teixeira can pull it off in their upcoming title fight.
Hey, that's cool, according to Teixeira.
“They’re going to talk about that Jones is a champion. He’s been a champion for a while,” Teixeira said on a recent conference call. “Most people are going to favor him. I think I did my job. I worked so hard for this fight and this is my opportunity over here. It’s a dream and Saturday night we’ll see what happens.”
It's absolutely expected for doubters to chime in on Teixeira's chances, the fighter explained. While he's established a 20-fight win streak largely outside of the UFC, Teixeira and most MMA fans have watched Jones pitch a perfect game against nearly every opponent in the Octagon since 2008.
More eyes on Jones over a greater amount of time means people are more familiar with him and are much more likely to pick him as the favorite.
“He’s defended his title a lot of times, so of course they’re going to go for him,” said Teixeira. “I knew that before this fight was announced. I knew when I fight Jon Jones this was going to happen. I don’t really care. I’ve just got to prove they’re wrong, and to prove that I have the potential to become a champion.”
The chance to prove he is championship worthy will come this Saturday when the two headline UFC 172 in Baltimore. Teixeira's critics say he hasn't seen the same competition Jones has, and some question whether he should have been given a title shot at this point in his UFC career.
But there's no time like right now, as Texieira proclaimed.
“This is the best time,” he said. “I’m in best shape of my life. I always train hard for any fight. Jon is no joke. After Chuck Liddell, he’s the only guy that’s held the belt for so long.
“I train so hard and train so hard, but still happy. Every day I wake up in the morning I’m like man, I’m fighting for the UFC belt. This is great, just go in the gym and train really hard.”
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