COMMENTARY | Will UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones be the next belt-holder to fall? Contender Phil Davis doesn't think so...
...because he doesn't think Jones will even show up for his next fight.
Jones is undefeated in his last 10 bouts, has defended the title six times, and is set to fight Glover Teixeira on April 26 at UFC 172 in Baltimore. However, Davis told MMAJunkie Radio he thinks "Bones" is too scared to step back in the cage.
"I'm just going to tell you the short version," he said. "Alexander Gustafsson put tips all over that boy. [Jones] doesn't know up from down, left from right. So I really don't see him wanting to get back in there with anybody -- definitely not Alexander. I don't even think he wants to get back in there with Glover Teixeira -- bless his little heart.
"But look, I like [Teixeira]. He's a cool cat, but this is what we do. I'm sure he doesn't care. He's willing to mix it up with anybody, too."
Jones' fight with Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September 2013 is widely regarded as one of the best fights in recent memory -- if not of all time. The two combatants went toe-to-toe for five rounds before "Bones" edged out a razor-thin victory that had many fans clamoring for an immediate rematch.
Afterward, it was clear Gustafsson had taken Jones to the limit, maybe even beaten the champ (depending on who you ask).
Jones was then matched up with Teixeira at UFC 169. But the fight was postponed. Then postponed again. Then postponed a third time, moving from UFC 169 to UFC 170 to UFC 171, before finally locking in at UFC 172.
And if you ask Davis, he thinks it's because Jones (19-1-0, nine KO/TKOs) is scared.
Should he be?
Teixeira is 22-2-0 with 13 KO/TKOs and six submissions. He hasn't lost since 2005 and is coming off wins over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, James Te Huna and Ryan Bader. The 34-year-old Brazilian is versatile, heavy-handed and feared.
In 2012, UFC President Dana White even noted that former champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua had rejected a fight with Teixeira.
"[Rua] said that he'd actually rather be cut than have to fight him," White said. "Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy."
However, "this guy" is up next for Jones. If Gustafsson did shake the champ's confidence as Davis believes, he could be in trouble.
If Jones pulls out of the fight, "Mr. Wonderful" is ready to fight Teixeira, he said -- if it comes to that.
"I don't wish [Jones] harm or wish he's injured," said the currently opponent-less Davis, clearly posturing for a high-profile matchup. "I just have this sneaky suspicion."
Until then, "Bones" remains one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts, complete with unique physical tools (6-foot-4-inch frame and 84.5-inch reach) and a highly successful coaching staff (Jackson's MMA).
Gustafsson did a number on Jones at UFC 165, but we've yet to see how he'll respond inside the Octagon.
"Bones" has continually risen to the challenges in front of him, Gustafsson among them. Next is Teixeira.
Come UFC 172, we'll see just how much damage "The Mauler" truly inflicted on the champ.
Paul Putignano lives in Southern California, where he has covered mixed martial arts and a wide array of sports across the Greater Los Angeles area. His work has been published in a variety of newspapers and online publications.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Jon Jones
- Glover Teixeira
- Alexander Gustafsson