UFC 172: Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
At UFC 172, Jon Jones will look to break his tie with Jose Aldo for the most consecutive UFC title defenses among current champions. Only Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre have longer championship winning streaks inside the Octagon.
Jones has had the toughest run of guys in the UFC. I mean, to get to the belt and to defend the belt, Jones has had to go through hell. Yeah, and he's the most accomplished. Nevermind Tito Ortiz, let's talk about Chuck Liddell, somebody who could actually really fight. Even Chuck Liddell, the things he accomplished and the things that he did, what Jon Jones has accomplished is greater than any light heavyweight, ever.
This weekend, a Liddell friend and training partner, Glover Teixeira, will attempt to bring Jones' reign to an end, which would keep "The Iceman" in the conversation regarding the greatest light heavyweight MMA has seen. Teixeira has not lost since March 2005 and is undefeated in five UFC bouts. At 34 years old, Teixeira finally earned his shot at UFC gold by knocking out Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28.
As this 205-pound title fight approaches, here is a closer look at how Jones and Teixeira match up in all areas.
Before Alexander Gustafsson made his way to a shot at the light heavyweight champion, Jones looked as though he'd be able to use his incredible reach to negate the striking abilities of all 205-pound contenders.
Although Teixeira is as powerful a striker as any Jones has faced, he's not as quick as a Rashad Evans or Vitor Belfort, and neither of those challengers were able to touch Jones with any frequency. With a reach advantage of over eight inches, Jones should be able to simply stay outside the range of Teixeira's power punches with straight punches and kicks.
Considering Teixeira was rocked by Bader and Fabio Maldonado, it's possible Jones could even score his first standing knockout win since finishing Mauricio Rua to become the light heavyweight champion.
In his past 11 fights, Jones has scored at least one takedown.
Having outwrestled Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans and many others, Bones might be the best wrestler the light heavyweight division has seen. According to FightMetric.com, Gustafsson has been the only opponent to match Jones' takedowns, and no fighter has scored more takedowns than him in a single outing.
Teixeira has never been taken down inside the Octagon, but Jones will clearly be the most talented fighter he's faced. Training with Liddell, Teixeira was bound to develop an excellent sprawl-and-brawl approach.
While nobody has had success grounding Teixeira, Jones is on another level compared to the Brazilian's past adversaries. The champion has been as impressive offensively against stronger opposition as Teixeira has been defensively against some lesser foes.
Jones and Teixeira have both scored six submission wins, and neither has ever been submitted.
Grappling isn't usually the first skill mentioned when either fighter's strengths are talked about, but both men are extremely skilled on the ground.
Teixeira's guillotine chokes may deter Jones from shooting often. At the same time, Jones' dominant top game could force Teixeira to put extra focus on defending takedowns, which might leave him hesitant to swing for the fences when standing.
While the margin is slim, Jones is a bit more proven on the canvas. With submission wins over three UFC champions in Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort and Quinton Jackson, Jones is just as strong a submission artist as Teixeira, and his wrestling background makes him the stronger positional grappler in this matchup.
It has been seven months since Jones or Teixeira have stepped into the Octagon. While not an ideal length of absence for either man, both are on the same page, so rust should not be a factor in their matchup.
Despite being eight years younger than Teixeira, Jones only has four fewer MMA bouts on his resume and has competed in much bigger fights as a UFC champion. So, regardless of age, an experience advantage would probably lean toward Jones.
Experience in five-round round fights is where Jones really holds an edge over Teixeira. While the Brazilian has never seen a fourth round, Jones has excelled in later rounds, earning two submission wins in the fourth round and rallying late against Gustafsson.
The UFC is selling Teixeira as Jones' most dangerous challenge, but I'm not buying it. That said, despite being heavily favored Jones isn't looking past Teixeira.
According to MMAJunkie.com, the titleholder said:
That fight (with Gustafsson), it lit the fire under me that I really needed. I don't like to make excuses, but I definitely think I've been more committed to other performances in the past. I could have been more committed to that fight, and I learned from that. I learned not to look past anybody.
Jones has faced opponents who hit just as hard as Teixeira and has dealt with them all. He shouldn't have much problem taking care of business against Teixeira.
With the better wrestling, Jones should be able to dictate where this fight goes. When standing, he has the ability to keep Teixeira on the end of his punches and kicks. On the ground, Jones has solid top control and the devastating ground-and-pound needed to stop Teixeira.
The champion can finish this fight from just about any position and can pull away in the later round if he's not able to stop it early.
Jones defeats Teixeira by (T)KO in the third round.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.