Hard-hitting title challenger Glover Teixeira is confident he will finally be the one to end the dominant UFC light-heavyweight title reign of Jon Jones. The pair lock horns this weekend in Baltimore in the main event of UFC 172. Teixeira is coming off a first-round stoppage of Ryan Bader at Fight Night 28, while “Bones” is coming off an epic battle at UFC 165 against Alexander Gustafsson. Jones retained his title via a hard-fought unanimous decision victory in what was one of the most sensational light heavyweight title fights in Octagon history.
Teixeira has won his last 20 fights and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2005. He has an impressive 22-2 record with 19 of those victories by way of knockout or submission. The 34-year old believes that he has the skills to be able to dethrone the champion in emphatic fashion. The shorter Teixeira will need to find a way to close the distance on Jones to land his dangerous punches as he will be facing a substantial reach disadvantage. It was something that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans were unable to do against the talented champion and as a result they were picked apart by Jones.
While Teixeira is known for his tremendous punching power, he also possesses solid grappling and a good ground game. Six of Teixeira’s career finishes have come via submission. One area of concern is that he hasn’t faced the level of competition that the champion has. Teixeira is 5-0 in his UFC tenure with 4 finishes. Only Jackson was able to last the distance against him.
It will be interesting to see how Jones responds after his most difficult fight. The air of invincibility that surrounded the champion was dented by the adversity he faced against “The Mauler.” Jones is still regarded as the sport’s current pound-for-pound king, but he did sustain more damage in his last fight than he had in his entire career. The champion is confident he will respond in spectacular fashion against Teixeira who is the decided underdog.
The 19-1 Jones has never truly been beaten inside the Octagon. Most fans don’t even acknowledge his disqualification loss for illegal elbows against Matt Hamill. It was a fight that Jones was absolutely dominating. The 26-year old champion is in the prime of his athletic career and a victory over Teixeira would ensure we get to see the highly anticipated rematch against Gustafsson.
Jones has also shown an ability to produce finishes in his own right with 15 wins by knockout or submission. He has stopped the likes of Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, and Chael Sonnen during his historic light-heavyweight title reign. The champion possesses superior wrestling skills, a brutal ground-and-pound game and a remarkably diverse striking attack. He employs damaging standing and spinning elbow attacks which he put to good use in rallying to get the win over Gustafsson last September.
This shapes up as another tremendous test for Jones and a title fight with explosive potential. The hungry Teixeira believes he can produce the finish that Gustafsson wasn’t able to deliver, while Jones is motivated to prove that he remains the division’s best and one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history. “Bones” will only add to his superstar status if he can put an end to the challenger’s winning ways and make it seven successful title defenses.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports