Glover Teixeira was 28 seconds away from defending his UFC light heavyweight title against Jiri Prochazka at UFC 275 before he tapped to a rear-naked choke in Singapore. And even though the Brazilian recognizes that jumping for a guillotine after rocking Prochazka on his feet in the fifth round was a mistake, he doesn’t regret doing it.
“Instinct, right?” Teixeira said on a special edition of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “He put his head down and his neck fell right into my guillotine. I didn’t go for it, he gave it to me. I could have been more patient, of course. I kind of jumped the gun. But the same way he caught me later — we think that when someone is hurt and tired you’ll catch him with a guillotine and he’ll tap quickly, sometimes he goes out quickly too.
“I’ve always said this, anyone can submit anyone [in MMA]. You can put Roger Gracie in there, who has the best jiu-jitsu in the world. If someone knocks him down and he’s hurt, you can get him with a rear-naked choke. You’ll compete in jiu-jitsu with Rodolfo Vieira and you won’t catch him, I bet that, but it happens in MMA. And it happened with me.
“But the guillotine, man — I feel like crying watching it again. F***,” he continued
“There’s a lot that goes on in a fight and you’ll learn from it. ‘I could’ve done this or that.’ I always go back and watch it to fix my mistakes, regardless of winning or losing. I’m always criticizing myself and fixing my mistakes. But it is what it is.”
Teixeira said the fight played out exactly as he expected, with him “dominating” Prochazka on the ground with his jiu-jitsu and wrestling for the majority of the bout.
Ultimately, though, there was no escape from Prochazka’s fight-ending submission.
“Someone will say, ‘F***, he was on the side, there’s no [reason to tap]. How did he tap?’ I tapped,” Teixeira said. “There’s no way around this, I tapped because I was almost desperate, so much so that I stayed there on the ground after the fight ended. Everything went dark, I was going out already. Not tapping wouldn’t have changed the result of the fight.
“But I dominated the jiu-jitsu [exchanges] the entire time. There were some times I dominated on the feet, too. There were some times I lost on the feet, but I always dominated on the ground. I was on the bottom a few times but always defended his ground and pound. That’s the reality, I dominated on the ground but was caught in the last minute. Like a punch, someone dominating the entire fight and a punch lands.”
The biggest lesson from UFC 275, Teixeira said, is to “stay alert at all times and never think you’re better than someone else in a position.”
The experienced Brazilian had never been submitted prior to UFC 275 in his 20-year MMA career, despite having fought the who’s who of the light heavyweight class.
“I thought his chances of winning would be by knocking me out, landing a flying knee, an elbow,” Teixeira said. “That’s what I expected before the fight: ‘This guy has this chance and I have to be alert.’ But on the ground, man, it never crossed my mind. ‘He’ll try to do this, to submit me,’ I never imagined him trying that. I imagined exactly what happened for four-and-a-half rounds — him trying to knock me out on the feet and landing me some good hands, maybe catching him with a counter when he comes for it, and dominating on the ground. That worked perfectly for four-and-a-half rounds.
“I never underestimate anyone, never think I’ll submit everyone in the first round. I’ll always go for the submission, that’s why I said you live by the sword and die by the sword. … That’s what fans like. That’s what I do, and I have no regrets doing it, but the lesson is to always be alert. It happened for the first time in my career, and it is what it is. Life goes on.”