Jon “Bones” Jones entered and exited Baltimore with his UFC light heavyweight championship in tow.
The champion took all five rounds against Glover Teixeira, as the challenger was no match for the longest reigning 205-pound champion in UFC history. A clean sweep across the scorecards.
Jones never went for the finish, but he consistently outworked Teixeira in all facets of the fight, keeping himself out of harm's way for the duration. It was another complete performance that shows why he is at the top of the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings.
This is what we learned from the UFC 172 main event.
What We'll Remember About the Fight
This was not the best UFC title fight, but the most memorable aspect of the bout was Jones' clinch work. He cut Teixeira up with his elbows inside the clinch all fight long.
Jones had no qualms about fighting in close with the heavy-handed striker, and his ability to stifle the challenger's offense showed why. He fought for hand control, covered up beautifully and came with slicing elbows for which Teixeira had little answer.
Simply put, he controlled the fight wherever it took place. The champion went in and took care of business against his opposition.
What We Learned About Glover Teixeira
This may sound harsh, but we learned that he was not a legitimate threat to Jones' title reign.
Teixeira is not the new breed of fighter that poses problems for Jones. He is neither quick enough nor explosive enough to catch the champion. He does not bring any unique element to catch him off guard.
Teixeira is a very good fighter, but he is not going to topple the likes of Jones.
What We Learned About Jon Jones
Throughout his career we have lauded his creativity, and we have lauded his growth into a complete mixed martial artist.
Now is the time to laud his fight IQ.
Jones, with assistance from Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, is one of the best at implementing a game plan. He is also fantastic at changing that plan mid-fight in accordance with what his opponent is doing.
In the post-fight interview, he told Joe Rogan that the game plan was to utilize takedowns, but Teixeira didn't make that easy. Thus, he improvised, changing his plan of attack, and it worked. Teixeira had no answer.
Jones' ability to adapt during the fight is what sets him apart from most other fighters.
What's Next for Glover Teixeira
Many of the top fighters are booked or injured at light heavyweight. What makes sense for Teixeira? The one that jumps off the page following UFC 172 would be a meeting with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
Johnson should leap into the top 10 of the division when the next rankings come out, and it offers the winner a way to position himself for a contender's bout.
Teixeira could go on to fight some of the aging light heavyweights, or up-and-coming prospects, but neither option fits where Teixeira is right now. In the current state of the division, Johnson makes a lot of sense.
What's Next for Jon Jones
Alexander Gustafsson. There is no other option.
The rematch could have been held at UFC 172, but the UFC decided to pit someone new against Jones. Now is the time to schedule the rematch everyone wants to see.
Gustafsson offered the biggest challenge to date, is coming off a win and is the No. 1-ranked contender in the division. It's a no-brainer. He has earned the right, and Jones should grant him the opportunity.
Sometime later this year, we should see the highly anticipated rematch.