When James Te Huna indicated that he wanted to fight a top-ranked opponent, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in particular, it didn’t take long for the UFC to grant his wish. With Ryan Bader injured, Glover Teixeira was left without an opponent and Te Huna was more than happy to embrace the opportunity.

“I’m over the moon,” Te Huna told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I wanted a top-ranked guy and now I am fighting the No. 4 guy in the UFC. My manager told me that nobody really wanted to fight him, and since everybody else was kind of matched already, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to take a big fight.”

The first thing that fans and media alike pointed out was the likelihood that Teixeira would be taking this fight straight to the ground and that he wouldn’t want to stand with a capable striker like Te Huna. It’s certainly something that Te Huna is not discounting, but at the same time he is confident that he can work around Teixeira’s potential game plan.

Te Huna (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

“He is awesome on the ground and he is a well-rounded guy standing,” Te Huna explained. “We have been watching him the past two years because we thought this fight would come around eventually, and we have found some holes in his game that I am ready to take advantage of.”

Te Huna didn’t want to reveal too much about his strategy going into the fight, but he did want to make one thing clear.

“I will bring it to him,” he stated. “I think our styles are going to work pretty well. And after watching him a bit, I noticed he doesn’t come forward too much, and I love going against guys who don’t move. It’s going to be an awesome fight.”

Teixeira has not lost since 2005 and is coming into this contest fresh off a victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Te Huna is riding his own streak inside the Octagon, notching four wins in a row since his only loss in the UFC, which was to Alexander Gustafsson.

“He is on an 18-fight win streak and has a lot of momentum,” Te Huna said. “I am on a streak too, and it may only be four fights, but I also have a ton of momentum going into this fight. I broke Ryan Jimmo’s streak and now I will break his.”

Te Huna made some big headlines after his fight in London because of his Men In Black-inspired entrance. He revealed after the fight that the entrance had actually taken priority over being mentally ready for the fight itself and it really affected his confidence inside the cage. However, Te Huna didn’t want to rule out the chance that he will make another grand entrance in his UFC 160 fight.

“I will leave it for a surprise and leave everyone guessing,” he said with a laugh.

In order to progress in the sport, there are many times when a fighter has to admit that they were not at their best in the cage. Although he came out with the victory, Te Huna was far from happy with what went down in his fight with Jimmo.

Te Huna (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

“My last camp was shit. I went into that fight expecting that I was going to lose, and it showed in my performance,” he revealed. “I learnt from my mistakes and won’t be going through that again. It’s going to be a good solid camp, and I will make sure that things go right this time.”

With two fellow countrymen in Mark Hunt and Robert Whittaker making appearances on the card, Te Huna was excited about the prospect of getting inside the cage in Vegas.

“It definitely takes the pressure off,” Te Huna admitted. “Mark has been talking about heading over early and doing some training together, and it just gives me a bit more motivation having a good friend on the card with me. There is already a lot of motivation going into the fight, but this just makes me want to win even more.”

Just weeks after his fight with Jimmo, Te Huna had expressed his desire to be as active as possible this year, so the opportunity to take a fight so soon was one that he just couldn’t pass up.

“It’s great to be fighting again so soon,” he said. “It means I will probably get on the Australian card that might be happening at the end of the year, which would be even better—everyone loves to fight at home.”

A big win at UFC 160 would see Te Huna legitimize himself in the light heavyweight division and prove the critics wrong that said he wasn’t ready for a top-ranked opponent. After campaigning successfully for this fight, it is now time for Te Huna to back up his words. That is something that the heavy-handed striker is more than happy to do.

James would like to thank his valued sponsors, PC Group, Boost Mobile, Phil’s Fitness & Bodybuilding, Competitive Edge and Shogun Martial Arts. Follow him on Twitter: @JamesTeHuna

Top Photo: James Te Huna (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)