Time to for James Te Huna Glover up

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2013
James Te Huna
BIG OPPORTUNITY: Kiwi MMA fighter James Te Huna.

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It was the one question Kiwi UFC hardman James Te Huna wasn't expecting to be asked last week.

Fresh off his victory over Canadian Ryan Jimmo in London last month, the Sydney-based light heavyweight was making travel plans to Las Vegas in May.

He and fellow Kiwi UFC star Mark Hunt were going to attend UFC 160 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, as spectators in the stands.

First, Hunt received word that he would be fighting former heavyweight world champion Junior dos Santos at the event.

Then, on Monday, came the call from Te Huna's manager: James, how would you like to fight  , the world's fourth-ranked light heavyweight, in Las Vegas?

"Myself and Mark had a trip originally planned to go over there and watch the fights together," Te Huna told Sunday News, from Sydney.

"My manager asked me if I wanted to fight Glover Teixeira - and I was like hell yeah, I want that fight.

"No-one else wants to fight him, so I'll take it. It's a really big challenge and I won't back down."

A fortnight ago, Te Huna, who sits just outside the top 10 in the UFC's light heavyweight rankings, called out Brazilian Maurico "Shogun" Rua to fight.

Yet he has received an even bigger fish in Teixeira, who has a 20-2 MMA record.

Brazilian Teixeira last lost an MMA fight against American Ed Herman in Oregon in March 2005 - meaning by the time Te Huna fights him, he will have gone more than eight years without a defeat.

His record in UFC is 3-0, with his most recent fight a unanimous points decisions against former light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in Chicago in January.

"I've still got goosebumps from hearing about it," Te Huna, who hasn't lost in more than two years, said. "It's a better fight for me. I've got more to gain fighting him, than Shogun. Shogun was dropping down the ranks. He had a couple of bad fights, and he wasn't really active.

"But [Teixeira] has been really active and walking through everyone. Everybody knows who he is and every other light heavyweight is scared of him."

Yet Te Huna believed there were "holes" in the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt's game - and was confident he could exploit them.

"[Teixeira]'s awesome on the ground. He's one of the best grapplers in the division," the former Sydney bricklayer said.

"He's a hard hitter on his feet, too. He hasn't really got many weak points - but we've been watching him for the past 12 months . . . and we've found some holes in his game.

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"My corner man and me - we've always talked about how we would take him on if we got a fight - so now we can put that into play."

Te Huna will remain in Sydney to train for the fight, where he will use the services of Australian Olympic boxer Brad "Hollywood" Pitt and former world champion wrestler Igor Praporschikov.

- Sunday News

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