Tonight, the longest reigning UFC light heavyweight champion will face off with a man who, despite a 20-fight win streak, has flown under the radars of casual fans.
In the MMA community, Teixeira is known as a destroyer and sure, in this crazy sport anything can happen, but the favor still leans towards the champion.
A lack of organic animosity was supplemented by the fact that a win Saturday fulfills a bit of destiny for both men.
Teixeira’s win streak hasn’t exactly been over a cavalcade of former champions like Jones’, but the fact remains, he is the legitimate top contender. Most current champions have hit a road block somewhere in their career and even some recent top contenders have a blemish somewhere in their ZUFFA career, but not Teixeira.
Jones has a win streak of a completely different color. 13-1 in the UFC, with the DQ loss to Matt Hamill, and a title run that began with the destruction of Mauricio Rua to win the belt, then a list of perennial contenders. With each victory over former champions, Jones has created a literal metaphor for the generations of MMA. He has shown the diversity that he brings is something that just can’t be matched by those who have found success in a time before this true freak of a mixed martial artist emerged.
This is a fight where perhaps the potential outcome of the fight is extremely important. If Teixeira can finish Jones, then their parallel runs of dominance are starkly divided. Another win on Teixeira’s record — a finish over Jones — implies that not only is his win streak legitimate, but it begs the question, if this guy can finish Jones, who can defeat him?
Teixeira will settle for a victory in any capacity, save an injury, DQ, etc.
If Jones is to retain then he must put Teixeira down. After claiming that he had trained to just 80% of his potential against Gustafsson, Jones needs to validate himself in that, at 100% he is the best on the planet. If he can’t beat Teixeira, or has trouble in pulling out a win, then his 100% isn’t the impenetrable armor that it is sometimes perceived as.
The fact that Jones hasn’t been the PPV star he deserves to be, coupled with Teixeira’s lack of popularity outside of hardcore fans, is unfortunate for those who may wait for the results to be published instead of buying this one. I do give credit to the UFC for hyping the return of Anthony Johnson and the main card is solid, but this card is all about the main event, one that isn’t about a win or a loss, but stands as a fight where both men are putting more than a belt on the line. A win must be dominant and even then, shades of doubt for either man, win or lose, will surely emerge, regardless of the outcome.