Win or lose, he didn’t plan on laying down his gloves and retiring that night — until he realized that a 25-minute war for the belt was the perfect way to end a legendary career.
“I didn’t have anything planned,” Teixeira said on Tuesday’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “I was getting frustrated in training sometimes because recovery is hard. The way I’m used to training, that brutal training — and that’s something I missed in this fight, being brutal with takedowns. I had many opportunities. I was avoiding [his punches] early, but then he started to connect a lot of punches and cut me. But I could still can block some and fight back. I get cut too easy — I’m like Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz. But I lacked that aggressiveness.”
A 43-year-old veteran who left his hometown of Sobralia to embark on a long, dangerous route to achieve his ultimate dream, Teixeira showed no quit in the main event of UFC 283, but didn’t have enough in the tank to get the job done in the final round. How the fight and camp went, Teixeira said, were the signs he needed to realize it was time. And even though he did not have his hand raised in the end, it felt the perfect way to call it a career.
Hill came close to finishing Teixeira with strikes in round three and four. Yet, the veteran somehow found a way to fight back and convince referee Marc Goddard he was good to continue. Now Teixeira may need to go under the knife to fix his broken nose, but that decision is yet to be made — with no fight on the horizon, he’s in no rush either.
“It was so cool, man,” Teixeira said of UFC 283. “I started my career in the United States and had the opportunity to fight on the Brazilian scene, to know everything about my culture, and then to come back and end my career in Brazil. I’m so happy about everything.
“I said, ‘This is the moment, to move on to another stage.’ If I’m not fighting for the UFC belt, if I don’t have that goal — I’ve never fought only for the belt, but I had that thing of, ‘I’m going after it, I’ll win it again,’ you know? To go back and fight another fight only for the fight, with no desire and hunger to get to the belt again — I’m good, man.
“I think my wife was very happy with my decision because she can’t take it anymore. It’s not just the fights, man. This sport is hard. You give your all in any sport to become a world champion, you leave it all in there and bring your family with you through that pressure on fight week. Mother and father, my wife — I see her tension when I have a fight booked. ‘Who are you fighting? Jamahal?’ And she goes on to watch Jamahal Hill’s fights, Jiri Prochazka’s. She doesn’t say anything, she’s always confident, ‘You’ll beat him,’ but she sees the danger this guy presents.
“And I have battles like this and don’t go down, like my last fight. She said she didn’t watch it, she wanted the referee to stop it. You want the referee to stop it. I don’t want him to stop. I swear to you, there was a moment when Hill was ground and pounding that I had my eyes covered in blood and couldn’t see anything, only the lights and Jamahal’s punches coming down, and I was like, ‘F*ck, the referee can’t stop this. I’m not hurt, but I’m not doing much.’ I was in the fight the whole time, I fought until the end, and I’m proud of the fight.”
Teixeira will continue hitting the gym every day to coach other athletes, most notably UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira. It won’t be easy to turn the switch after 20 years of professional fighting, and that’s why he won’t walk away completely. For his future, however, he’s only looking at grappling matches with fellow veterans or even a boxing match with some potential celebrities, opportunities to have fun and earn some cash.
“I won’t stop training,” Teixeira said. “If there’s an opportunity in the future for a match, do some boxing — [Acelino Freitas] ‘Popo’ boxed [Brazilian YouTuber] Whindersson [Nunes], right? Maybe I’ll fight some heavy guy, a celebrity, and move my body a little bit. Why not, man?”