It was October of 2013 when John Teixeira was passing through the Perpétuo Socorro neighborhood in Macapá, Brazil and got word that his mother’s house was hit by a fire that would leave about 800 people homeless in the area. That crucial moment was overcome with the help of the MMA team that at the time had hosted the Bellator featherweight, and that he today points out as his second family.
After the frustration of being eliminated from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2012 and losing the UFC fight that could have gotten him a contract with the organization, ‘Macapá’ decided at the end of 2012 to move to Rio de Janeiro and train with the likes of José Aldo, Renan Barão and Eduardo Dantas. The reception at Nova União was as good as he could’ve imagined after somewhat of a rocky start.
“It was practically a dream come true to be able to train with champions such as them”, Teixeira told AG. Fight. “Aldo, Barao, Marlon Sandro… I was already following their work. In the beginning, it was difficult, I was a stranger in their house and I was in my own corner. (But) I got their respect and they hugged me like a brother.”
After the fire that pulverized more than 200 homes in Macapá, Teixeira’s family received help from a federal government program to secure housing for those affected by the tragedy. However, with little furniture available and a rent still to be paid, the athlete’s mother relied on the help of the entire family of fighters who had hosted Teixeira in Rio de Janeiro, where he already lived and trained at the time.
“I went through this situation there, the team ended up helping me a lot”, Teixeira remembered. “They did a seminar here to raise funds. I already lived in Rio, but I had just fought and went to visit my family soon after the fire. We raised funds and I gave everything to my mother to be able to pay the rent and these things.”
With four straight wins at Bellator, the 30-year-old now faces Daniel Weichel on April 14. And in case he wins, he assured that a verbal agreement with the organization guarantees him the right to fight for the featherweight belt next, which is currently held by Daniel Straus. That situation would put him closer to achieving yet another dream.
“I am already deserving this title fight, just like him [Weichel]. I’m near the belt, I wake up and I go to bed thinking about it… One day, it will work out and I will be able to buy as many houses as my mother wants.”