Glover Teixeira is the underdog going into his UFC 275 title defense against Jiri Prochazka on Saturday, but he doesn’t really care. He respects the former RIZIN champion regardless, even if he doesn’t see the Czech light heavyweight as the biggest challenge of his storied MMA career.
Speaking on this week’s edition of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca, Teixeira said Prochazka has “definitely” earned a shot at the gold after winning just two bouts inside the UFC cage, devastating knockouts over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes courtesy of his unorthodox style.
“He does some things I like,” Teixeira said. “He’s freaking dangerous, unpredictable, but has certain things, [like] the ground game, some movements he does… I won’t comment here about his movements, but will have a nice strategy for him.
“[Staying] calm. I have to be calm, don’t get too aggressive. I’ve lost some fights when I was too aggressive. You have to be calm against him and attack on the right time, the moment he makes those mistakes.”
Prochazka has only been beaten once over his past 24 bouts, a run that includes stoppages over future Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and PFL heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza, plus veterans C.B. Dollaway and Fabio Maldonado. He avenged that sole defeat, knocking out former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.
Since first challenging Jon Jones for UFC gold in 2014, Teixeira has finished the likes of Ovince Saint Preux, Rashad Evans, Patrick Cummins, Misha Cirkunov, Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, tapping Jan Blachowicz to reach UFC royalty in October 2021.
“[Prochazka] does things that… I wouldn’t call him crazy, but sometimes he does crazy things,” Teixeira said. “But I’ve fought guys that, man… I can’t compare him to someone like Jon Jones, the top fighters, the best of the best of the division. He does pretty cool things, throws unpredictable attacks, things that are hard to study. [But] he has mistakes, too.”
Teixeira has only once gone to the championship rounds during his current six-fight winning streak, when he dismantled and stopped Anthony Smith 64 seconds into the fifth stanza. That, he said, could be the game plan against Prochazka, who has only been past the first round six times in 32 professional bouts.
“I have to train for five rounds and put pressure and see how much pressure he can take,” said the champion. “If it’s the third, if it’s the fourth, if it’s the fifth. [The plan is] to go for the finish since the beginning with my game of pressure.”