Entering Saturday night at UFC 172, Jon Jones has successfully defended his UFC title six times, a number that only trails greats like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre.
To push that number closer to the greats and cement his status as the best in the world at the moment and further his legacy, Jones will have to maneuver past the underdog Glover Teixeira. The scrappy Brazilian has won 20 fights in a row.
While a seemingly lopsided affair, the tale of the tape suggests both fighters are evenly matched:
|July 19, 1987||Birth Date||Oct. 28, 1979|
|Rochester, N.Y.||Birthplace||Sobrália, Brazil|
|Ithaca, N.Y.||Residence||Danbury, Conn.|
There's certainly good reason to tune in, as Teixeira has the proverbial puncher's chance.
Just don't believe the hype that credits him as the biggest threat to Jones yet.
Bleacher Report's Chad Dundas best explains why Teixeira's hype machine to get fans to tune in shouldn't be believed:
Certainly, Teixeira is a capable, heavy-handed competitor who has rightfully earned his spot as No. 1 contender. He could absolutely defeat Jones if he can load up and catch the champion slipping with a big shot. Through five Octagon appearances against mostly middling talent, though, Teixeira just hasn’t shown the skills to justify the hyperbole currently being heaped at his feet.
Teixeira certainly buys his own hype, although he can be given a pass:
Glover Teixeira on Jon Jones: "I'm gonna touch this guy a couple times and he's gonna go down."— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) April 23, 2014
Now 34 years old, Teixeira joined the UFC in 2012 and won five fights. He ran through Kyle Kingsbury, Fabio Maldonado and James Te Huna before a decision over Quinton Jackson. A bout with Ryan Bader was shaky at best for the Brazilian, as Bader had him on the ropes before letting his guard down.
Meanwhile, Jones has been nothing short of the best fighter in the sport. In a way, he's sort of like boxing's Floyd Mayweather—alone at the top, and no matter who he chooses to fight he will be met with some semblance of criticism.
Jones has bullied his way to the top, although he too had a rough encounter in his last outing against Alexander Gustafsson. Unlike his opponent Saturday, the near-loss is not a major concern as the competition was actually valid, as DWLA editor Josh Gross helps to point out:
On scale of 1-10 re: Gustafsson's chances against Jones, I had it at 6. Teixeira gets a 4. He can hit a homer, but speed deficit is major.— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) April 24, 2014
Conventional wisdom says Teixeira has an advantage in the striking department, although his display of power has come against lesser competition, and his clear lack of speed when he steps in the Octagon with Jones may rear its ugly head.
It's also seemingly impossible to take down Teixeira, but again, the quality of his competition plays a factor. Conversely, Jones has scored at least one takedown in each of his last 11 fights.
Watch for Jones to use his superior length and speed to avoid the danger zone. This is what sets the two apart on Saturday night, as Teixeira looks for his shot at glory and Jones wants to remain on top of the mountain.