Reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones is poised to retain his title in Saturday night's UFC 172 main event when he goes head-to-head with the surging Glover Teixeira.
Although some are doubting the legitimacy of Jones' most recent victory over Alexander Gustafsson, the 26-year-old certainly hasn't turned in six consecutive successful title defenses by accident.
Watch for Jones to look to make a statement on Saturday in Baltimore.
According to MMAjunkie (via USA Today Sports' Mike Bohn and Christian Stein), the 34-year-old Teixeira isn't surprised he enters this weekend's fight as a heavy underdog:
"There was no way I was going to be the betting favorite. In my own head, and that of my trainer's, I am the favorite. But it's no surprise that I'm not in the eyes of the fans."
Even TNT analyst Reggie Miller is on the Jones bandwagon:
Despite Teixeira's impressive 20-fight winning streak, he's yet to face an opponent with the array of striking options and movement skills that Jones possesses.
While Teixeira is a power puncher who can cause serious damage with his strikes, Jones has the quickness and explosion to avoid those shots and counter with his own.
Teixeira will also have an extremely difficult time making his way past Jones' massive wingspan and actually landing any significant blows, per Bleacher Report MMA:
Jon Jones #UFC169 Q&A: Jones tells the crowd that his official wingspan is 84.5 inches.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) January 31, 2014
Teixeira could find an advantage if he can take the fight to the ground, but that's asking a lot against Jones, who was taken down for the first time against Gustafsson last fall.
The Brazilian boasts the submission skills to earn a stoppage victory without his fists, but getting Jones into a compromising position will be another tall task and something we've rarely seen.
Who will win at UFC 172?
Jones will be putting both his title and superhuman reputation on the line when he steps into the Octagon against Teixeira on Saturday night at UFC 172. But there's a reason he's been the light heavyweight champion and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet for the past three years—he knows how to survive in the spotlight.
Whether it's a first-round knockout or a five-round slugfest decided by the judges, Jones possesses both the tools and the psyche to fend off any challenger, including Teixeira.
While there are some who believe he should have been dealt a loss by Gustafsson in his previous outing, an impressive triumph over Teixeira, who has been on cruise control, would reestablish Jones' status as the light heavyweight king.
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