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UFC 172: Pit product meets Jones in title bout

The SportsXchange

Glover Teixeira hopes to bring the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight belt back to The Pit.

That's the legendary mixed martial arts gym in San Luis Obispo, Calif. famed for producing one of the biggest stars in UFC history, Chuck Liddell. Now retired, Liddell wore the company's 205-pound title from 2005-07 during the period in which MMA exploded in popularity.

Teixeira, a 34-year old transplant from Sobralia, Brazil, will look to bring on home the gold at UFC 172 on Saturday, when he meets current champion Jon Jones in the main event at the Baltimore Arena.

"Jon is no joke," said Teixeira (22-2). "After Chuck Liddell, he's the only guy who had held the belt for so long. Every day I wake up in the morning I'm like 'man, I'm fighting for the UFC belt. This is great, just going to the gym and training really hard."

Teixeira rides a 20-fight win streak dating back to 2006 into the bout, a stretch which includes a 5-0 UFC record, with four finishes. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Teixeira also happens to hit with the power of a runaway freight train, and isn't afraid to absorb two good shots to land a good one.

Of course, Teixiera also has yet to fight Jones, who is widely regarded as the sport's top pound-for-pound fighter. Jones (19-1) recently became one of just a handful of UFC fighters to surpass three years as champion. His six successful title defenses are a divisional record.

Jones also happens to have a wide ranging, varied striking offense, one that attacks from all angles. This has led many to suggest that the straightforward Teixeira's only real path to victory is to land a lucky punch, but Jones isn't taking this possibility lightly.

"He has great knockout power in his left hand and his right hand," Jones said. "I've studied him and some of his favorite combinations extensively. I feel like I'm ready."

Meanwhile, Liddell himself has stepped into the fray, insisted that everyone is sleeping on his Pit stablemate.

"I think (Teixeira) either hurts (Jones) with a punch and he shoots and submits him, or knocks him out," Liddell told MMAFighting.com. "I'm not sure which one, but it's one of those things. Doesn't get past (round) three."

The co-feature bout of UFC 172 is another light heavyweight attraction. San Diego's Phil Davis, a former NCAA wrestling champion at Penn State, meets Georgia's Anthony Johnson.

Davis boasts a 12-1 record and is on a three-fight win streak, but has found himself on the outside looking in on the championship picture. Both Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier figure to be ahead of Davis in the pecking order.

So Davis let off some steam and sent a dig at UFC president Dana White when he was on a Monday media confernce call which also included Jones.

"If you want Phil Davis calling and texting your phone everyday telling you I want to fight Jon Jones and beat up whoever the champion is, that's fine," Davis said.

Jones, for his part, told Davis to focus on the task at hand.

"I mean, what if he goes out there and gets caught with one of those high kicks from Anthony Johnson and gets knocked out?" Jones asked. "It's going to be really embarrassing to talk so much trash to me and then get knocked out by Anthony Johnson."

Johnson is beginning his second stint in the UFC. He was cut from the company in 2012 after missing weight several times at lower weight classes. Since then, fighting at a higher weight class, he was 6-0 outside the UFC.
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