Dominant UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is looking for his record seventh straight title defense when he faces Brazilian slugger Glover Teixeira in the main event of April 26’s UFC 172 from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
Alexander Gustafsson nearly wrested the belt from Jones’ iron grip by at last September’s UFC 165, but a come-from-behind victory thanks to a strong showing in the championship rounds broke the record Jones shared with Tito Ortiz.
Many (if not most) are already looking forward to Jones’ perceived rematch with “The Mauler,” who earned his next title shot with a second round finish of Jimi Manuwa in the main event of early March’s UFC Fight Night 37 in London. All of the hype surrounding that fight would seem to portray the sense that Jones is looking past Teixeira, but as the champ revealed on tonight’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” he’s intently focused on making a statement at UFC 172:
Jon Jones: “My goal is to finish the fight, to dominate Glover like no one’s ever seen or could imagine.”
— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) April 2, 2014
That may just be a tough thing to accomplish against Chuck Liddell-trained Teixeira, who has a 20-fight win streak intact. Still, he hasn’t really fought any truly legitimate contenders during his five-fight win streak since coming to the UFC in early 2012. But with the punching power he has, a shocking victory might be only one shot away.
He’ll have to get inside Jones’ insane reach advantage to do so, and that has been far and away the hardest thing to do against “Bones” thus far. The champ’s aura of invincibility was undoubtedly ripped away when Gustafsson battered him at UFC 165, even becoming the first-ever fighter to take down Jones in the Octagon.
He can go a long way towards re-establishing that reputation by finishing Teixeira in Baltimore. Either way, the winner is on a collision course for the championship-starved Gustafsson, a scary proposition for any light heavyweight in the world right now. Will we see a return of the previously untouchable “Bones”?
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski for USA TODAY Sports