Teixeira motivated by 1st career fight

Glover Teixeira recalls June 7, 2002, well.

That’s the date of not only the UFC light heavyweight contender’s pro mixed martial arts debut, but one of only two losses — and the only by knockout — in his career.

“I’d like not to remember that,” Teixeira told FOX Sports. “It never goes away. I do remember fighting Eric Schwartz and getting so freaking tired. I couldn’t do anything. That’s why I’m freaked out about my conditioning. In that fight, I was so tired I thought I was going to die.”

Schwartz was in the second of only two professional fights, according to Sherdog.com. (He won both.) Teixeira, 33, has since ascended to the top of the 205-pound division and is set to take on Ryan Bader at the third UFC event on FOX Sports 1 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on Sept. 4.

A victory would stretch his winning streak to 20 fights — and, just as importantly, significantly increase his chances of a title shot.

“He’s fought maybe one top-10 opponent,” Bader told FOX Sports. “I definitely respect him as a fighter. I respect his winning streak. At the same time, I plan to go out there and beat him. I think I can end that. I don’t need any more motivation. I’m fighting in the main event in his hometown in Brazil. He’s right there in title contention. If I beat him, I’m jumping right up the ladder and taking his spot.”

Bader is a top-10 opponent, ranked as the No. 10 contender, according to the UFC’s official rankings. (Teixeira is the No. 3 contender in the division ruled by Jon Jones.) A former All-American at Arizona State, Bader is also one of the most respected wrestlers in the sport.

Bader said that could pose Teixeira — known more for his striking than his prowess on the mat — issues.

“He has good takedown defense,” Bader said. “We haven’t really seen him on his back in UFC. That’s something I want to exploit. He’s more of a brawler, so I’m trying to tighten up my game. He throws those big hooks. With every punch, he’s trying to knock you out.”

Teixeira admits he doesn’t fight from his back much, even in practice.

“I try to focus on everything, but it’s true,” Teixeira said. “Even in training I don’t go on my back a lot. I have tried to train that part of my game as well. We’re going to see if Ryan can put me on the ground and what I’m going to do. I want to show the fans what I can do from my back, if it happens.”

As far as his cardio goes, Teixeira said he’s progressed plenty since that fight against Schwartz. And while his winning streak sits at 19, Teixeira said he’s far from complacent.

Teixeira sees enough of that from some of the fighters he trains.

“You never say you know it all,” Teixeira said. “I think I’m a good coach and I hate when people say they know it all. They don’t even have to say it. You can tell by their attitude. You try to tell them something and it’s like, ‘I won. Don’t worry about it.’ I want to say, ‘Shut the (expletive) up and do it.’ I know I learn from every fight.”