Legacy is everything to Jon "Bones" Jones. He's been arguably the most dominant light heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC.
You know you're putting in work when past champions begin to call you out. Recently, retired and former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell had some words for Jones.
Per UFC on Fox, Liddell said:
This is no slight to Liddell, who is an all-time great, but there's no way he beats Jones—even in his prime.
Jones has already beaten better fighters than Liddell. Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida are two that come to mind.
In fact, Jones has very rarely been challenged in his bouts.
In his last fight against Alexander Gustafsson, the champion was pushed to the brink, but he responded with a spectacular fifth round that won him a close decision.
By most accounts, Jones shouldn't have as tough of a time with Glover Teixeira on Saturday at UFC 172 in Baltimore.
But what if he does.
What if Jones were to actually lose the bout? A very candid Dana White talks about Jon Jones' legacy in an interview with Kevin Richardson of The Baltimore Sun.
White speaks almost as if a Jones' win is a foregone conclusion. At one point he says: "when Jones beats Glover." He quickly changes it to "if Jones beats Glover." But this type of belief in the champion is what would make losing all the more crushing.
Technically, Jones has lost just one fight in his career. He was disqualified for throwing illegal downward elbows at Matt Hamill back in 2009. The rule still baffles me and the enforcement of it seems to depend on who the referee is.
Travis Browne finished Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett with elbows that looked a lot like what the rule book describes as downward elbows.
Aside from that, Jones has been untouchable. A real loss that no one could dispute would remove the aura of invincibility from around Jones.
For a prideful champion like Jones, a loss could have an adverse psychological effect. It could also make him refocus and come back even stronger.
It seems the fight with Gustafsson may have already done that. Jones told Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report:
“I think I fight a little more safe than I used to. I don’t do all the wild and crazy things I used to.”
On the other side of the cage, a loss for Teixeira would be a major blow to his career—even though most expect him to fall.
At 34 years old, Teixeira is no rookie. It took him two years to earn a title shot. If he loses, he'll be headed to the back of the line.
As White mentions in the interview, there's a long line of contenders waiting to get a shot at Jones. If Gustafsson didn't get an immediate rematch, it stands to reason that Teixeira wouldn't either.
He'd likely be behind Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, Phil Davis and even Dan Henderson on the list.
By the time Teixeira got another shot, he might be 36 or 37 years old. That's a long time to wait for a mid-30's guy.
If Teixeira wants to be UFC light heavyweight champion, he must seize this opportunity.
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