As the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, UFC light heavyweight phenom Jon Jones is at the forefront of today's mixed martial arts scene.
Since his promotional debut back in 2008, "Bones" has ran through the competition en route to defending the 205-pound crown a record-setting six times.
He's been one of the most dominant champions of the past five years and one that knows how to finish, recording three submissions and two TKO's in seven title fights.
But as prolific and fantastically impressive as Jones has been, his last Octagon appearance back at UFC 165 was far from perfect. He often struggled to maintain offensive potency opposite a deceptive and precise dynamo in the always towering Alexander Gustafsson, which resulted in one of the best fights of 2013.
Now, while the champ answered many questions during that fight regarding his heart, overpowering will and sheer chin, it allowed him to reassess his focus and determination more than anything.
"My last fight I had a really tough fight," said Jones in a recent interview with Washington D.C. sports radio hosts Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington, originally reported by David St. Martin of MMA Fighting. "I just won by decision. I just squeaked out a victory. I've been humbled. It's an empowering thing. It's a scary thing for [my opponents]. Now I'm taking my job more seriously than ever."
Scary is not the only word that comes to mind when thinking about how dynamic and ferocious Jones can be if he wasn't actually taking his job serious in the first place.
How about hair-raising? Or spine-chilling?
Either way, before a long-awaited rematch with "The Mauler" is put to use, the youngest champion in the UFC must focus on the task at hand: A looming title defense at UFC 172 opposite light heavyweight bruiser Glover Teixeira.
I won't have to gameplan for it. I'll just have to be aware of it and respect it. In Glover's last fight, you saw that. He was getting beat up. He had his back against the wall. He was covering up his face, kind of in the fetal or turtle position. He peeked up, saw that he had an opening, swung and got a knockout, which was extremely impressive. So yea, Glover is someone I'm going to have to respect tremendously. He has knockout power in both his right hand and left hand. It's just going to be a really entertaining fight to watch.
As a huge favorite to keep his belt, Jones is going to have to be on the top of his game to defeat a Brazilian who hasn't lost since 2005, a streak that includes four Octagon finishes.
In any case, Jones should find comfort knowing he'll once again possess a significant reach advantage. It's served him well in the past and should only fuel his game plan to stay away from Teixeira's vicious knockout power.
A win at UFC 172 and Jones is that much closer to an inevitable grudge match with the man who nearly dethroned him this past September.
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