Glover Teixeira’s Defiance of Father Time at UFC 267 Is Why We Love MMA

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It’s tempting to call Glover Teixeira’s UFC 267 light heavyweight title win a storybook ending, but doing so would ignore the fact that he still has chapters left to write.

Teixeira, 42, completed one of the most legendary career comebacks of all time in the card’s main event, dominating Polish champion Jan Blachowicz—a big bettering favorite—en route to a second-round rear-naked choke victory. The Brazilian’s age alone made his title win impressive—he’s now the oldest first-time champion in UFC history—but his victory is made even more commendable by the fact that he’s been counted out so many times before.   

After losing to Jon Jones in his only previous crack at UFC gold back in 2014, Teixeira was labeled a flash in the pan. After coming up short to Phil Davis in his next fight thereafter, his doubters got even louder. His career was once again pronounced dead when he was knocked out by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson in the span of nine months back in 2016 and 2017, and once more when he was soundly beaten by Corey Anderson in 2018. He’s been counted out time and time again, yet here we are, in 2021, and he’s the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion.

UFC @ufc

UNDISPUTED CHAMP AT 42 YEARS OLD!!!! 🏆

[ #UFC267 | @VisitAbuDhabi | @InAbuDhabi | #InAbuDhabi ] https://t.co/yyxWjAqexp

It was a performance so inspiring, so impossible to wrap one’s head around, that it caused commentator Daniel Cormier and a cage-side Antonio Rogerio Nogueira—both former UFC champs—to get emotional. And amazingly, Teixeira insists his fairy tale isn’t over. 

In a post-fight interview with the UFC’s John Gooden, the ageless Brazilian acknowledged that surging Czech contender Jiri Prochazka is up next for a title shot.

“He’s the No. 1 contender,” Teixeira said of the 29-year-old most likely to provide his first challenge. “Let me take a vacation, let me enjoy this belt a bit, then I’m going to watch him and study him.”

Beyond Prochazka, Teixeira can look forward to fights with other dangerous—and far younger—contenders like Aleksandar Rakic and Magomed Ankalaev, the latter of whom moved onto a seven-fight streak with a win over Volkan Oezdemir in the UFC 267 main card opener.

Teixeira will almost certainly enter the cage with Prochazka as a sizeable betting underdog. The same will most likely be true if he’s matched up with Rakic or Ankalaev. Yet the 42-year-old champion is determined to keep defying the odds, no matter how unsurmountable the challenges ahead seem.

UFC @ufc

The new champ’s first challenger? 🤔

[ @GloverTeixeira | @Jiri_BJP | #UFC267 ] https://t.co/RNswhFjD0n

“I’m breaking the rules,” Teixeira said in his post-fight interview with Cormier. “42 years old and I’m going to keep breaking those rules.

“I love this. This is my house. I’ve been here before. This is my house. I love this.”

While Teixeira will leave Abu Dhabi with a UFC belt in his suitcase, Blachowicz will return to his native Poland with far lighter luggage.

The former champion was classy in defeat, conceding that he couldn’t get things going in the cage.

“Everything goes wrong with me,” Blachowicz said cooly in his post-fight interview with Cormier. “I think I left the legendary Polish power in the hotel room.”

Despite the loss, Blachowicz is adamant that he’ll be back.

“This is not the end of the story,” he said. “This book is not closed. I’m not a quitter. I’m not going anywhere. I will come back for sure.”

Given that the Polish veteran is already 38 years old, his reclaiming the UFC light heavyweight title in the future feels like a long shot. If there’s a single lesson to be learned from Teixeira’s UFC 267 title win, of course, is that nobody can ever be counted out in MMA—even when Father Time is bearing down—and that’s what makes this sport so beautiful.

“Never give up on your dreams,” Teixeira told Cormier in the Octagon, with the belt wrapped round his waist. “No matter what people: Don’t listen to those negative people. Believe in yourself.”

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