News broke earlier this morning that UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones would not be facing Alexander Gustafsson in their perceived immediate rematch, but rather Glover Teixeira on the UFC’s traditional Super Bowl Weekend card.
In moving ahead with Jones’ desire to face another challenger after deciphering that he beat Gustafsson handily, the UFC has definitely ruffled some feathers. Many still believe that ‘Gus’ was robbed of the title at UFC 165 in Toronto, but many others think that the right decision was made. Regardless, the fight was a classic battle that deserves to be run once again, and most thought it would immediate.
However, Teixeira is booked for the bout, and Gustafsson fans will have to wait. Some believe that Jones is running from the man who can finally match him inside the Octagon, others think that he is simply moving onto his next challenge. Teixeira is a great fighter who deserves to fight for the belt at some point, but is that point right now?
I’d have to say no. Let’s take a look at why Teixeira should take a backseat to the impressive fight that Gustafsson brought to Jones last weekend.
True, Teixeira has taken the UFC by storm since making his debut back at UFC 146 in May 2012. He’s gone undefeated since then, dispatching five straight opponents in the Octagon. The run brought his win streak to a lofty 19 fights. But just how good has his competition been in the UFC?
He submitted Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut. Kingsbury has shown flashes of a proficient Muay Thai game at times, but he wasn’t a contender. Still, Teixeira wasn’t expected to fight a top opponent in his initial bout. So he moved on to face Fabio Maldonado at last October’s UFC 153. Maldonado is an insanely tough boxer who ate an incredible amount of punishment from Teixeira before the doctor called off the bout. The fact is, Maldonado sits with a rather unimpressive 2-3 record in the UFC, but he still tagged Teixeira with a dangerous left hook while Teixeira stood directly in front of him.
From there, Teixeira faced off with a rather past-his-prime Quinton ‘Rampage ‘ Jackson at UFC On FOX 6. Teixeira dominated once again by showing good offensive boxing and using his excellent Brazilian Jiu-jitsu skills to own ‘Rampage’ on the ground. Still, Teixeira showed little to no head movement and ate just about every jab that Jackson flicked his way.
His next fight against James Te Huna at UFC 160 was a showcase of his skills. Teixeira won the fight with a first round guillotine. Te Huna’s an underrated talent, actually possessing a nice 5-2 record in the Octagon. However, his wins haven’t really been against top talent. When he faced top fighters like Teixeira and Gustafsson, he’s been choked out.
That brings us to his latest bout against Ryan Bader in the main event of UFC Fight Night 28 earlier this month. ‘Darth’ brought the fight to Teixeira, and hit him with some huge shots in the process. Teixeira appeared to just let Bader hit him in order to eventually land his own shots, and somehow it paid off. Despite nearly getting dropped, Teixeira benefited from Bader’s fatal flaw of rushing in with his guard down. Teixeira ultimately scored the knockout victory, but it could have gone the other way at any point.
It’s hard to knock Teixeira because he is a great talent. He’s undefeated at 5-0 in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. He’s an accomplished grappler with an ADCC title to his name. And he’s a Chuck Liddell-trained product that hasn’t lost since early 2005.
But does all that add up to a win over Jones? Even though Jones showed that he was painfully human in defeating Gustafsson last Saturday, I’m not entirely sold on the prospect. Teixeira has shown to be way too lackadaisical in allowing his opponents to hit him during his UFC tenure. His talent can make up for a lot of that behavior, but it’s not going to be like that against Jones. Part of Gustafsson’s success was his excellent movement, and his pace noticeably fell during the championship rounds, allowing Jones to pick up much-needed points.
Teixeira just doesn’t have that movement to begin with. His plodding style would be perfect for Jones’ highly diverse, range-based striking style. Are you really going to beat ‘Bones’ by standing right in front of him while he picks you apart with his kicks? I don’t think so, and I’d have to say that Gustafsson stands a better chance of obtaining the belt at this point in time.
Is Jones afraid of fighting Gustafsson once again? It’s hard to say, but he did almost finish the talented Swede in Toronto. But regardless of the answer to that question, it’s almost certain that Teixeira provides a less dynamic challenge for Jones’ next trip to the Octagon. Do you think the UFC made the right choice, or was Gustafsson slighted after the fight of his life?
Outer Photo: Jason Silva, USA TODAY Sports