Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Why Jon Jones' historic run won't end soon - not even against Alexander Gustafsson

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports
MMA: UFC 172- Jones vs Teixeira
.

View gallery

Jon Jones doesn't seem to deal with criticism very well. (USA Today)

BALTIMORE – A huge grin creased Jon Jones' face as he entered the post-fight news conference following his impressive unanimous decision victory over Glover Teixeira in their UFC 172 light heavyweight title fight Saturday at Baltimore Arena.

Jones had plenty of reason to smile.

He performed brilliantly, battering Teixeira from start to finish and leaving no doubt who was the better man. Unlike his bout against Alexander Gustafsson last year, when many fans believed Jones was given a gift, there was no doubt about this outcome.

All three judges gave all five rounds to Jones, who opened a massive cut over Teixeira's right eye and also sent him to the hospital with rib and shoulder injuries.

Jones came out of the fight with no known injuries, unlike his last three outings.

He wore a sling to the post-fight news conference after UFC 152, courtesy of a Vitor Belfort arm bar. His big toe was dangling after his victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 and he was so beaten up following his win over Gustafsson last year at UFC 165 that he collapsed onto a stretcher after exiting the cage and had to be taken to the hospital.

Courtesy of his victory, he'll rematch with Gustafsson later this year. The Swede defeated Jimi Manuwa in March to do his part to put the rematch together.

Jon Jones puts his arms in the air his fight against Glover Teixeira. (USA Today)

The two may be intertwined for a long time, because they're beginning to separate themselves from the pack.

Gustafsson's teammate, Phil Davis, has long been considered a threat to Jones because of his wrestling ability, but Davis was listless and did little in a loss to Anthony Johnson on Saturday.

Daniel Cormier, of course, remains an elite potential opponent, but after what Jones has done over the last three-plus years, those are falling by the wayside quickly.

Saturday's win was his eighth in as many world title fights and he's now made a division-record seven consecutive title defenses.

He's not showing the look of losing any time soon, though UFC president Dana White was quick to point out that he's still not close to former middleweight champion Anderson Silva's record for most consecutive title defenses. Silva successfully defended his belt 10 consecutive times before losing to Chris Weidman last year.

But Jones is nothing short of magnificent and he's only now rounding into his prime fighting years. There are going to be many beatings yet to come.

"I thought this was the best performance of his career," White said in tribute. " … The light heavyweight division has always been the nastiest in the sport and he went through a Murderer's Row to get the title."

He was pretty impressive in his title-winning effort over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in 2011, but he's been so good for so long that it's splitting hairs to argue which was the best.

Jones said leading up to Saturday's bout that he had taken Gustafsson lightly last year and had only given 80 percent of himself.

Gustafsson's performance in that loss gave him a sort of cult hero status. There is a portion of the fan base which hasn't embraced Jones, whether because of his occasionally prickly personality or they just can't accept someone so much better than the rest of the field.

But Jones-Gustafsson has the makings one of the sport's elite rivalries. Much like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were defined by their boxing rivalry, that may be how it turns out for Jones and Gustafsson.

Gustafsson was brilliant last year in bringing the fight to Jones. He hit Jones with a lot of his strikes and became the first man to ever take Jones' down.

Jon Jones kept Glover Teixeira guessing with his striking. (USA Today)

But Gustafsson had never previously looked quite that good. He'd been impressive in a number of matches, but he raised his game several levels against Jones.

If Jones did indeed take him lightly, that makes his win all the more impressive.

Teixeira, a knockout puncher with either hand and a submisison expert, fought valiantly and never stopped coming. But he did little to make an impact.

"He's an extreme beast," Jones said of Teixeira. "I respect him so much and I'm glad to have fought him."

If Jones remains on the pace he's on, he'll soon be regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist ever. No fighter has ever gone through the series of elite opponents the way he has done.

And given that none of his bouts were close other than the fight with Gustafsson, he may be in for a long and historic run at the top.

The UFC will market the rematch like crazy and you can be sure there will be plenty of pictures of the lumped up Jones, with a bloodied lip and a swollen eye, gingerly getting onto the stretcher.

Before the last fight with Gustafsson, the marketing hook was that Jones was for the first time facing a man his size.

The next time around, it will push the controversy and the fact that Jones nearly lost his belt.

But there is no controversy. Jones is the best fighter in the world by a long shot and expect him to make that point emphatically to Gustafsson when they meet again.

View Comments (440)

Recommended for You

  • Mayweather: "When May comes around I'll have a totally new team."

    Mayweather: "When May comes around I'll have a totally new team." It appears Mayweather will be shaking up his team and parting ways with longtime friend and CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe. Perhaps you noticed a familiar face was missing from Floyd Mayweather's corner during his…

    SB Nation
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Remember When Michael Sam Was Supposed To Be A Distraction For The Dallas Cowboys?

    The great distraction that was supposed to come to Dallas with Michael Sam has all but vanished as the NFL is swamped with bad news. As any long time reader here at BTB knows, I am loathe to point out when the esteemed members of the media who cover and comment on the Dallas Cowboys are totally,…

    SB Nation
  • 29-Year-Old Golf Phenom Who Disappeared From The PGA Tour Will Get $10 Million If He Quits Forever

    Anthony Kim hasn't played since 2012. Anthony Kim, the ex-golf phenom who has become golf's greatest mystery since vanishing from the PGA Tour in 2012, is mulling an impossible decision. According to a new article by Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck, Kim has an insurance policy that covers him in…

    Business Insider
  • Carlos Beltran leaves Yankees following death of unborn child

    Sadly, we learned on Wednesday they are going through that pain and anguish again, as Beltran announced that they had lost their unborn son. Carlos Beltran, away from the team for personal reasons, just posted on his facebook page that he has lost his son. When Beltran left the team on Tuesday,…

    Big League Stew
  • Rumor Roundup (Sept. 18, 2014): Steve Austin WWE update, Sting at WrestleMania 31, Dean Ambrose return, more!

    Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate…

    SB Nation
  • Ronaldinho blasts penalty kick into the stands on his Mexican debut

    Ronaldinho made his debut for Queretaro in their Copa MX match against Tigres and though he was presented with a golden opportunity to start with a bang, it didn't quite work out for him. Tigres jumped out to an early lead when Herculez Gomez scored in the ninth minute.

    Dirty Tackle
  • Colts' MNF meltdown costs bettor a $100,000 payday on a $5 bet

    A bettor in the Delaware Sports Lottery was less than one half of football away from winning $100,000 on a $5 bet, but the Indianapolis Colts couldn't hold up their end of the deal. The Colts, as you may recall, had a two-touchdown second-half lead on the Philadelphia Eagles but couldn't hold on,…

    Shutdown Corner
  • Lexi Thompson's newest photo shoot will catch your attention

    Lexi Thompson first entered the public consciousness at 12 years old when she qualified for the U.S. Now at 19, Thompson has set LPGA records as their youngest champion (since eclipsed by Lydia Ko) and won a major championship. Thompson dons a bikini in what would probably be considered in golf…

    Devil Ball Golf
  • Blue Jackets president accuses Ryan Johansen of extortion, reveals contract numbers

    The Columbus Blue Jackets have had enough of this Ryan Johansen restricted free agency negotiation.  To the point where affable team president John Davidson called it “extortion." * He announced that the team had offered Johansen $6 million over two years and $32 million over six years (which JD…

    Puck Daddy
  • [VIDEO] Ronda Rousey and Gilbert Melendez spar

    UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is all healed up from a broken hand and got back to training recently with a Jiu Jitsu sparring session against No. 1 UFC lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez. Check out the video above for a beautiful display of good-natured but speedy grappling between…

    Cagewriter
  • Cardinals' Dwyer arrested on assault charges

    Cardinals' Dwyer arrested on assault charges PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on aggravated assault charges in connection with two altercations at his home in July involving a woman and their 18-month-old child, the latest in a string of such cases…

    Associated Press
  • Pep Guardiola celebrates Jerome Boateng's late winner against Man City by choking him

    Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng scored a 90th-minute winner against former club Man City (with a helping deflection off Mario Gotze) and that kicked off a touchline mosh pit starring Pep Guardiola. After Boateng ran over to celebrate with his coach and teammates, Guardiola gave him a celebratory…

    Dirty Tackle
  • Fan heckling Harper in Atlanta ejected by umpire

    Umpire Tim Welke heard a foul-mouthed fan heckling Bryce Harper and decided it was time for the man to go. Welke took off his mask, pointed to the fan and ejected him from Turner Field in Atlanta during Tuesday night's game between the Washington Nationals and Braves.

    Associated Press
  • Fredi Gonzalez Must Go

    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and the majority of his coaching staff must be fired if the Braves are serious about winning in the future. For the Braves' recent struggles, Frank Wren must fire manager Fredi Gonzalez and hitting coach Greg Walker. The Atlanta Braves must fire Fredi Gonzalez and Greg…

    SB Nation
  • Top freshman JaQuan Lyle no longer on Oregon's roster

    After Oregon updated its men's basketball roster on Tuesday evening, it didn't take long for savvy fans to point out a key difference. JaQuan Lyle, Oregon's top freshman, is no longer on it. Lyle was not admitted to the university despite being cleared by the NCAA, Rivals.com reported Wednesday…

    The Dagger
  • Here is a story about Ian Poulter that sums him up perfectly

    Paul McGinley gave an interview to the Irish Independent recently in which he said he wishes he'd had a little more "f--- you" to him over the course of his career. "I remember standing on the 18th fairway with Poulter in the singles," said McGinley. As always Ian Poulter is the best.

    CBS Sports
  • Play

    NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Meet The New Car

    Courtney Hansen and Jeff Burton explain some of the new features on the Generation Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.

    NASCAR.com