Glover Teixeira knows he can’t fight forever, but that doesn’t mean he’s putting an expiration date on his career.
Ahead of his first title defense as light heavyweight champion at UFC 275, the 42-year-old Brazilian said recently that his “perfect plan” would be to defeat Jiri Prochazka on June 11 and then have a retirement fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City later this year.
While there’s a chance that’s exactly how things play out, Teixeira clarified his statement on The MMA Hour and addressed how much time he has left in the sport.
“Listen. I wasn’t sure.” Teixeira stated. If there was a perfect [plan],, it would be this: “If I win the fight, of course, I am confident. But, when you ask me questions way before I go into camp it almost feels like I might fight another time. But when I’m camp right now, I’m a lion. My training is available for you to see. You’ll be able to see the difference, and probably won’t even ask about retirement. The way that I have been training and feeling lately at camp makes me so happy.
“Eventually, I do want to retire. I said the perfect scenario is me beating this guy in Singapore and hopefully fight Jan [Blachowicz] at Madison Square Garden in November and then call it a day. However, I do not want to take such a drastic decision. Although I believe it’s possible, I do not want to [say], say, “Oh, I’m going out of business this year or have a few more fights,” or any other .”
Teixeira’s biggest problem is declaring that he will retire but then changing his mind after the fight, or months later. When it comes to how he wants to deal with the end of his career, Teixeira looks at Henry Cejudo (Olympic gold medalist in two-division UFC) as an example.
“I don’t want to make a call and be desperate later,” Teixeira explained. I even spoke of Henry Cejudo. He is a great guy. He knows he has more. Although I do not want to make that decision, .”
Teixeira is motivated by the championship itself, not a financial obligation. While a hefty paycheck is never a bad thing, he promises that hasn’t been a driving force in a long time, which is why he’s able to make a clear-headed decision about something as monumental as retirement.
” I’m not doing this for the money,” said he. “I did it for the championship. “I did it for the championship. It’s important to see the bigger picture. What makes my life so much better? Why do I need more?
“It’s definitely not for the money. I’m fighting right now because I’m the champion – I want to defend this title.”
At some point, Teixeira knows he’ll have to stop. Because he’s been around the sport for such a long time, he’s seen first-hand how some fighters stick around way too long. It damages them physically and mentally, not to mention what it does to their legacy. That’s why he dreams about going out on top.
But more than anything else, the timing of retirement is everything.
” I enjoy the fight and the game, Teixeira stated. “I love the camp life to be preparing for a fight, but I’m also 42 going on 43. It’s time to start thinking about it. I want to retire from the sport, I don’t want the sport to retire me.
“You see Khabib [Nurmagomedov], I take my hat off to Khabib when he retired on top. Money is not motivating. He’s making $10, $20 million, they offer him so much money, but he’s not going back. He’s done. He doesn’t want to do it anymore. That’s going to be me. The day that I don’t want to do it anymore [I will retire]. The day that I don’t want to get myself going is the time that I’m going to be done.”