In the immediate aftermath of a performance as dominant as the one that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore on Saturday night, it’s easy to label it his greatest.
Jones, now 20-1 as a professional fighter and on an eleven-fight winning streak, certainly deserves all the accolades and adjectives that we can send his direction.
The champ, however dominant he was in the fight – he won a 50-45 nod from all three judges – still wouldn’t hold this individual fight up as his “best.”
“I felt as if I got sloppy towards the end,” he said when asked about the bout at the post-fight press conference. “I started getting booed for running and things like that, but guys like Vladimir Matyushenko, that was a fast fight, Chael Sonnen, that was a really fast fight. I feel like those were my best performances as far as being a clean performance.
“But to beat a guy that hasn’t lost in 20 fights, I can’t complain about that performance.”
Teixeira had won 20 consecutive bouts, including five under the UFC banner, before stepping into the Octagon opposite the UFC light heavyweight champion. But he had never faced the likes of Jones or the laundry list of opponents that Jones has defeated to be considered the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Jones isn’t downplaying how important it was for him to perform as well as he did against Teixeira though. He counts it as a major achievement.
“Glover Teixeira, to the hardcore fans, man, they know how tough he is. I feel as if it really gets me back on that wave of domination, and I’m happy to have all that back,” he said.
That’s an important feeling to have when you’re a fighter. Most will admit that a key element to winning is confidence, and defeating Teixeira impressively adds to Jones’ confidence as he heads into a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson in his next fight.
UFC president Dana White on Saturday night reiterated that the rematch would indeed be the next bout for both men. He later added that the UFC is considering Jones vs. Gustafsson II in Sweden, perhaps even in a stadium, although there is nothing yet set in stone.
Jones emerged from Saturday’s title defense mostly unscathed, save for a minor issue with his left big toe, which doctors checked after the fight and believe is not broken nor is it likely to have any torn ligaments.
Jones, however, didn’t want to talk about Gustafsson after the fight, what’s next, or anything of the like.
“I’m not gonna talk about (Gustafsson) at all,” he responded when hounded about the Swedish challenger. “I just won a fight; I’m having a good time.”