Head coach of legendary martial arts gym ‘The Pit’ in California John Hackleman has talked up his latest superstar UFC light heavyweight Glover Teixeira as he heads into the biggest fight of his career this weekend when he takes on reigning champion Jon Jones at UFC 172 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Speaking on this week’s episode of the TalkingBrawlsMMA.com podcast with Niall McGrath, Hackleman praised the Brazilian’s training camp at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, which never left them wanting for high level training partners.
“Camp worked absolutely perfect for him. Everything has been perfect,” stated the ‘Pit Master’. “[We were] working with Steve Mocco, [an] Olympic wrestler. He’s [Teixeira] been working with King Mo. He’s been working with a bunch of the other guys at American Top Team, I don’t know half of their names. I think he had the biggest camp in the world. I think it is (ATT) the biggest training camp in the world. You don’t [generally] need that many sparring partners, but he’s had enough. He was training with Caio, you know, who just fought. Caio Magalhaes in Orlando last week who got that first round knockout.”
With such a big fight comes the usual distractions of media pressure and mind games from your opposite number, whether intentional or not. There are also the relatively new distractions of random drug testing that has become more regular in the UFC, but Hackleman says Teixeira takes it all in his stride, just like Chuck Liddell did before him.
“He’s laid back man. He’s just laid back like it’s another fight,” said the 54-year old. “He’s trained real hard, he knows how good he is. He’s just perfect right now. He’s just kicking back, going to lunch; joking, you know just normal Glover. A regular week for him.
“I don’t think he is,” replied Hackleman when asked whether Jon Jones might be underestimating Teixeira. “He’s asked Glover for like five blood tests for steroids and stuff so I don’t think he’s underestimating him. I think he knows how strong he is and how hard he hits. I think he’s preparing and I don’t think he’s underestimating him at all. I think he’s respectful of him and not looking past him for that matter.”
Throughout the build up to this weekend’s main event, Chuck Liddell has seen much of the limelight himself, being a mentor to Teixeira under John Hackleman. When asked about Liddell’s comments that he would knock Jones out if they fought during his prime, Hackleman was initially tentative in his response.
“I didn’t read that but if he said it the ok,” he said. “It is hypothetical but I’ve been with Chuck long enough to know that if he puts his hands on anyone then he can knock ’em out. But I didn’t actually read that and I don’t think he said it like that, it might have been taken out of context. I don’t think Chuck Liddell would go back and try to do imaginary fights. But Chuck could beat anyone he wants to in his prime, I can guarantee that right now. Whether he was an underdog or not he could beat anyone.”
Liddell also spoke up Teixeira’s chances this weekend saying that he believes he’ll beat Jones by either knockout or submission inside the first three rounds. Hackleman agrees on the ultimate outcome, but admits that MMA as a sport has far too many variables to predict at the highest level.
“This is MMA. This isn’t boxing. Like when Floyd Mayweather fights you know exactly what’s gonna go on,” Hackleman explained. “You know every time [Manny] Pacquiao fights, almost, you know how it’s gonna go out. I mean you knew every time Tyson would fight how it would go out. It’s more of a one-dimensional sport. With MMA it could go any single direction.
I don’t know which way he’ll win, I just think whichever one presents itself first, whether it’s a chin, or a liver, a limb or a neck. I don’t know.
“Honestly, I truly believe Glover’s gonna win,” he continued. “He has too many tools, he’s too strong, he hits too hard, and he’s too talented. I don’t know which way he’ll win, I just think whichever one presents itself first, whether it’s a chin, or a liver, a limb or a neck. I don’t know. But I definitely think Glover has the skill, power, strength and conditioning to win this fight, and I truly believe that.”
One criticism, whether warranted or not, of Glover Teixeira’s tenure in MMA and in particular the UFC has been his conditioning and lack thereof. Hackleman explained how this is not the case, and on the contrary it is one of his stronger points.
“I think Glover is getting stronger during the fights. I think with Glover one of his main things has been his conditioning. I mean against “Rampage” [Jackson] he got stronger and stronger, against [Fabio] Maldonado he got stronger and stronger and I think everybody else he knocked out. I think his conditioning has always been good. I think it has always been one of his main strength.”
So with Glover Teixeira looking to win his 21st fight in a row in MMA, and sixth in a row in the UFC by dethroning the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, all pressure seems to be coming from the outside and not from his camp or himself. They’re taking it all in their stride. It’s just another fight, but will it be just another win for Teixeira?
“I think Glover’s hand will be raised and there’s too many scenarios for me to try to guess,” said Hackleman. “Like I said he hits hard enough to knock anyone out, he has so much power and strength, he has unbelievable submitting power and submitting skills.
Even if I wasn’t in his corner, I would say this is going to be a real fun and exciting fight even though it’s not that much fun for me, he’s my guy. I just think with the styles and the different skills they both bring it’s going to be an exciting fight.
“I see it as definitely a win just whatever way it presents itself first is the one he will take,” he finished.
Glover Teixeira takes on Jon Jones this Saturday night at UFC 172 for the UFC light heavyweight championship live from Baltimore, Maryland. UFC Fight Pass Prelims start @ 12am GMT; BT Sport Prelims @ 1am and the Main Card begins at 3am live on BT Sport.
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