It's a good piece of promotion to sit down in front of anyone who'll listen and proclaim that an underdog challenger isn't the underdog everyone knows he is. If you came out and admitted otherwise, people on the fence might not be keen to drop $60 on his title bid.
Dana White knows as much, and that's why he's chosen "Glover Teixeira is not a 5-to-1 underdog" as his main talking point leading up to UFC 172. It's not accurate, but electing to state "Jon Jones is a justifiable favorite. He is going to murder Glover Teixeira," might not be good for business.
Actually, maybe it is. Maybe people just want to see violence and they don't care how competitive it is. That's probably something to muse about at another time, though. Right now, the world is only a few short hours away from the Jones/Teixeira main event, and many are wondering how it might play out.
In pairing the two and trying to fit their styles into one another, it's clear where the advantages lie for each. Jones is a better athlete, a younger man, a smarter fighter and a higher echelon of talent. Teixeira has more raw power and is perhaps more keen for a dogfight than the champion.
That likely means that Jones will attempt to pace the fight very deliberately before ramping things up when he feels it's time to close the deal. Before that happens, Teixeira is likely to attack in bursts of relentlessness with an eye on putting the champion away early.
Those are, historically, the traits of each man, and nothing about them facing off indicates an interest in disrupting one another's pattern. They both know what's gotten them this far, and they'll both live and die with it.
With that in mind, Jones is simply better by any metric one wants to apply outside of one-strike knockout power. And he's been in there with enough one-strike danger in his UFC tenure that he knows how to handle it.
He's dominated Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida, all of whom have the ability to finish a man with a single strike and the collective of whom offer a varied palette of opponents.
Together they prove that not only is Jones good at not getting hurt against guys who specialize in hurting, he's good at it against a variety of styles. Teixeira, for all his power, applies it pretty basically and isn't anything the champion hasn't seen before.
How does Jones win?
If you're trying to envision how the main event might end, look back on Jones' title defense against Jackson as an indicator. Jones controlled distance and pace for four rounds, then jumped on a chance to put a fading Jackson away.
Jackson did better than people thought he would, but the end result was totally unsurprising. It was a win for Jones, one that might have been a little too cautious but that was no less impressive once he went for the kill.
Expect the Teixeira fight to follow a similar narrative. He'll likely do better than people expect, particularly early on, while Jones is measured and spends his time calculating the steps he needs to take to get out in front. Once he does that and begins taking those steps, he'll slowly pull away until he's earning a victory.
That victory is likely to come on the ground, either via strikes or via a submission opened up by strikes, as Jones' top game is among the most hellacious in the sport. Human beings simply aren't meant to survive the force he generates with his elbows, and Teixeira is no different.
So yes, Teixeira should be a 5-to-1 underdog and yes, Jones is a justified favorite. Add those facts together and you've got a recipe for violence at UFC 172. It's not about Jones winning the main event as much as it is about how he's going to do it, but we've seen the blueprint already and, if he follows it, it's going to be long night for the challenger.