Jon Jones went from pound-for-pound the best fighter inside the octagon to just plain pounded.
Jones took a beating, the worst one of his record reign, in a bout against Alexander Gustafsson that knocked the light heavyweight champion on the canvas for the first time in his career and put his belt in jeopardy.
Looking as human and humbled as ever, Jones wouldn’t let his hard-earned championship slip away easily and gutted out another title defense – a UFC record sixth straight – that set up him up to find another challenger of the month.
Enter Glover Teixeira. Teixeira boasts a whopping 20-bout winning streak that dates nine years and is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bader.
Jones (19-1) and Teixeira (22-2) fight in the main event of UFC 172 tonight when the promotion makes its debut in Baltimore.
Phil Davis fights Anthony Johnson in the other headline bout.
Jones, one of UFC’s biggest active pay-per-view draws, won a unanimous decision against Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September. Gustafsson cut the champion at the right eye midway through the first round. And with a minute left, he took Jones down for the first time in the champion’s UFC career.
Jones said he knew he was as close as ever to dropping the belt.
“I realized I needed to switch up my strategy and begin improvising a little bit more, and that’s what I did,” he said. “I think with Gus I was trying to fight like a technical kick-boxing match and I think I was losing at that. I just had to switch my style up and start flowing a little better and start winging things, making up, creating, and finding new openings.”
He found enough of them to escape and put his name in the record book.
Teixeira, the No. 2 title contender, is 5-0 since jumping to UFC but a 5-1 underdog tonight.
“My strategy against Jon Jones is simple: Go out there and be myself and knock this guy out,” he said. “I’ve been training my whole life for this.”
sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.