Jones vs. Teixeira: Breaking Down Top Light Heavyweight Contenders After UFC 172

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Jon Jones reacts during his fight against Alexander Gustafsson (not pictured) during their Light Heavyweight Championship bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

After Jon Jones (20-1) successfully defended his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira (22-3) via a unanimous decision, his reign of supremacy over the division has reached legendary proportions.

With seven consecutive title defenses, Jones has taken on every challenger put in front of him and dominated him. Just as it is in every other division, though, there will be several top contenders looking to take the title.

Here is how the light heavyweight division shakes out after a wild night at UFC 172.

 

The No. 1 Contender: Alexander Gustafsson

Sep 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Alexander Gustafsson (left) fights Jon Jones during their Light Heavyweight Championship bout at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Now that Jones successfully defended his title, he must shift his focus to the next title defense. As UFC President Dana White announced, via Mike Whitman of Sherdog.com, Alexander Gustafsson will get his rematch for the light heavyweight belt.

Jones and Gustafsson first went head-to-head in September 2013, and after five rounds of brutal back-and-forth action, the defending champion was awarded the decision victory. The fight was named Fight of the Night and awarded Fight of the Year honors as well.

Gustafsson bounced back in his first fight after the defeat and destroyed Jimi Manuwa with a TKO finish. While Jones has been devastating his challengers during his reign with brutal striking, the same can be said for Gustafsson.

With both men willing to do whatever it takes to steal a win in the Octagon, the upcoming battle between Jones and Gustafsson could easily steal the show and win Fight of the Years honors once again.

 

The Title Eliminator Fans Want: Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson

Apr 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA;   Anthony Johnson (blue gloves) fights Phil Davis (red gloves) during UFC 172 at Baltimore Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest winners from Saturday’s pay-per-view was light heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson. While beating Phil Davis was a huge victory on its own, the fact that it happened in Johnson’s first fight back with the UFC was even more important.

Johnson re-signed with the company in February.

Before he can be considered a favorite to contend for the title, though, he must beat one of the top fighters in the division. With Daniel Cormier scheduled to fight Dan Henderson at UFC 173 and expected to take on the winner of Jones vs. Gustafsson, according to White, the potential bout between Cormier and Johnson is exactly what the division needs.

When a fighter like Jones dominates the division for so long, fans become tired of the futile attempts by the challengers. As we saw against Teixeira Saturday night, it was clear that Jones was far more talented than his opponent.

A battle between Cormier and Johnson would prove just how deep the division is.

As long as Cormier is able to defeat Henderson in May, the possibility of the potential title eliminator taking place as the co-main event for the battle between Jones and Gustafsson should have MMA fans ecstatic about the possibilities.

 

*Stats via UFC.com.