Jon "Bones" Jones continued his reign atop the MMA world on Saturday with yet another successful title defense as he defeated Glover Teixeira in impressive fashion at UFC 172 in Baltimore.
From the outset it was clear that Jones' 84.5" reach was going to be a huge advantage in the bout. With the 6'2" Teixeira unable to get close enough to the champion to do much damage in the early rounds, Jones was able to pick the Brazilian apart from the outside.
From there, Jones went to his typical methodical approach of breaking down an opponent. He outlanded Teixeira in every round, and even when the challenger was able to close the distance, he either took the strikes in stride or avoided them completely.
The championship rounds turned out to be all about the champion, as he completed the shutout with his continued dominance.
Bones also showed his ability to play up to the crowd before the fight. He paid a little tribute to Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis on his way to the Octagon:
Jones is unquestionably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, and he proved it once again in the face of elite competition. Not only did he improve his record to a sparkling 20-1, but Jones also retained the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship for the seventh consecutive time.
Teixeira was considered by most to be one of the biggest remaining challenges remaining in Jones' path, but even the battle-tested Brazilian was no match.
Entering the fight, Teixeira was well aware of his status. Even though the 34-year-old star has an impressive resume in his own right, he was considered a substantial underdog against Jones, according to UFC on Fox:
Most seemed to be picking against Teixeira, including fellow fighter Rashad Evans, per Bloody Elbow on Twitter:
That could very well have put extra pressure on Jones' shoulders and gotten into his head leading up to the bout. Perhaps that was the case, but Jones didn't show any apprehension or nervousness en route to yet another victory.
Some of that could have been due to the peace of mind that he was able to manufacture. Even more so than the matchup itself, much of the talk prior to the fight focused on random drug testing.
According to David Kano of TVMix.com, Jones requested random testing for both himself and Teixeira, and his wish was ultimately granted:
The meaning behind that request was likely two-fold from Jones' perspective. Not only did it ensure that his fight with Teixeira would be a clean one, but it is also possible that Jones was able to get into Teixeira's head and throw him off his game a bit.
Jones essentially forced Teixeira to deviate from his normal routine, and that can be extremely troublesome for a UFC fighter. These competitors are creatures of habit, and there is no telling how much the random testing might have impacted Teixeira mentally.
Whatever the case, Jones was locked in as he always seems to be, and Teixeira was unable to dethrone the champ. Regardless of any antics and posturing that took place before the contest, it can certainly be argued that Jones was always destined to win.
Now that Jones has defeated one of his toughest potential challengers, the focus shifts toward the 26-year-old star's future in UFC. He has seemingly conquered every obstacle placed in front of him, but he still has a long career ahead.
Jones' only loss came against Matt Hamill in controversial fashion back in 2009. Jones was disqualified for illegal elbows, which means that he has never really been beaten straight up. In fact, Jones has absolutely decimated the bulk of his opponents.
One man who gave Jones a run for his money, though, was Alexander Gustafsson. Jones beat Gustafsson by unanimous decision, but it was unquestionably the closest bout of his career. Gustafsson pushed the champion to the brink, and he most definitely earned a future rematch.
Now that Jones has taken care of business against Teixeira, one can only assume that another battle with Gustafsson is on the horizon.
Another option is Phil Davis, who laid down an open challenge to the winner prior to Saturday's tilt:
If and when Jones gets through them, UFC world heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is a name worth considering. Moving up in weight would present a new and exciting challenge for Jones, especially against a fighter as strong as Velasquez.
According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com, however, that fight doesn't interest Jones as of now.
"Somebody was asking me about possibly fighting Cain Velasquez," Jones said. "I have no interest at this point. There's a lot of great competition for me to test myself (at 205 pounds) -- Glover Teixeira obviously being first on that agenda."
Things can change quickly in UFC, though, and it wouldn't be particularly surprising to see Jones pressured into a Velasquez fight provided he continues to dominate the 205-pound division.
No matter what Jones ultimately decides to do, UFC fans eagerly anticipate his upcoming fights. Jones proved once again on Saturday that he is the best fighter in the world, and he cemented his status as the biggest draw as well.
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