Glover Teixeira wrote his name into the record books by capturing the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 267 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
Teixeira, who turned 42 on Thursday, set a new record as he became the oldest fighter to win a UFC title for the first time by defeating defending champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event at the Etihad Arena.
Teixeira’s victory came in his second attempt at championship gold, with his first resulting in unanimous decision defeat to Jon Jones at UFC 172 in 2014.
Seven years later, the US-based Brazilian returned to the world championship stage and completed a remarkable career renaissance by submitting Blachowicz in the second round with a rear-naked choke to spark wild scenes of celebration in the octagon.
Teixeira took Poland’s Blachowicz to the mat and dominated proceedings throughout round one, and the challenger stunned the champion on his feet in round two before taking him to the mat again.
With Blachowicz seemingly without an answer for the Brazilian’s grappling, Teixeira moved into mount, flattened out the champion and locked up a rear-naked choke to secure the 33rd win of his 19-year professional MMA career, making him the second-oldest UFC champion in history.
After the championship belt was wrapped around his waist, Teixeira said that, by capturing his first title in his 40s, he confounded common opinion about ageing fighters and their ability to compete at the highest level.
“We were talking about Dana [White] today, how he promotes the UFC, how he breaks the rules and that’s why the UFC is what it is,” he said.
“I’m breaking the rules – 42 years old – and I’m going to keep breaking those rules!”
Teixeira also had kinds words for 38-year-old Blachowicz after a week that was highlighted by various moments of respect between the pair, including when the Pole presented him with a bottle of Polish beer on his birthday.
“He’s a tremendous champion. He’s a great champion,” said Teixeira.
“He beat undefeated [Israel] Adesanya and he beat everybody to get here. He’s a hard-working man. I love this man, he has my respect forever.”
A crestfallen Blachowicz was philosophical after losing his title, as he said: “Everything goes wrong with me, you know?
“I think I left the ‘Legendary Polish Power’ in the hotel room. That’s what happened.
“But this is not the end of the story. This book is not closed. I’m not a quitter, I’m not going anywhere. I will come back, for sure.”
More to follow.