UFC 172: Jon Jones 'I'll Be a Champion for a Long Time'

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2014

Apr 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA;  Jon Jones puts his arms in the air after the UFC light heavy weight championship fight against Glover Texeira at  Baltimore Arena. Jones retained the light heavy height championship by defeating  Teixeria.  Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jones is the current No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, and he is the light heavyweight champion of the world.

Jones defended his title at UFC 172 in a five-round lopsided decision win over Glover Teixeira.

During the Fox Sports 1 post-fight show, Jones stated he needs to keep improving as a fighter.

I'm realizing in my own game, through the hard work, the holes are closing up—jiu-jitsu, takedowns, takedown defense, close range fighting, long-range fighting, I do have a chin, and I believe I'll be champion for a long time.

In Jones' career we have seen him evolve as a fighter. He relied on his wrestling background numerous times early in his career, but more recently, we have seen his development as a striker. He utilized his long limbs to establish range and beat up his opponents.

Jones captured the UFC title with a vicious beating on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, where he capped it off with a hook to the body.

That is the kind of development that sets champions apart from the field. The mentality he has to keep improving is one reason Jones remains the champion to this day.

The thought entering UFC 172 was Teixeira needed to get in range and use his heavy hands. Jones could have established the distance once more, but instead, he chose to fight the majority of the fight in close.

It was Jones who clinched up and wanted to strike in close. He utilized hand control and his elbows to slice up Teixeira's face during the fight. The Brazilian did manage to land some shots, but they did not have the same power behind them required to truly hurt Jones. Regardless, Jones ate the shots and continued to pile on his own offense.

After narrowly escaping Alexander Gustafsson, Jones returned a sharper fighter. With Gustafsson looming again as his next challenger, Jones will need to continue to sharpen his skills so that he can retain his belt in the highly anticipated rematch.

As the young champion continues to improve, there is little doubt as his holes in his game get smaller, it will be more difficult to defeat him.

Jones broke numerous records at UFC 172. He broke his own title defense record but also passed Forrest Griffin in total number of significant strikes landed in the division with 824. He also moved his takedown defense to 96.6 percent by avoiding all of Teixeira's attempts (stats courtesy of FightMetric).

The champion of the world continues to move closer to history.

Jones continuing to improve is a scary thought for the UFC's light heavyweight division, and as he does, he will begin to put his name alongside the all-time greats of the sport.