UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will defend his crown against Brazilian Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore on Saturday, April 26.
The 26-year-old Jones is eyeing his seventh consecutive title defense, while Teixeira hopes to claim his first belt since moving up to UFC two years ago.
Both Jones (19-1) and Teixeira (22-2) have reportedly undergone drug tests by the Maryland State Athletic Commission, as the champion questioned the origins of his opponent’s almost legendary strength.
"I just thought I would have Glover tested because he's not the youngest fighter and everyone raves about how strong he is,” Jones said to ESPN.
"Some fighters, you just know they're not on anything just by looking at them. Part of (Teixeira's) mystique is his amazing physical strength and I just questioned it. I have no reason to think he's on steroids but I do wonder how someone can be so strong."
Jones also said that he believed some of his past opponents used performance-enhancing drugs but did not mention anyone by name. Teixeira reportedly hasn’t failed a drug test since he started fighting back in 2002 and hasn’t commented on Jones’s request. Also, by all accounts, both fighters have passed.
Jones is seven months removed from his last match, a five-round unanimous decision over Alexander Gustafsson back in September at UFC 165. Jones had to overcome a cut to his eye in the first round, but ultimately won his 10th straight match.
He’ll face a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert in Teixeira, who is capable of ending fights quickly or grinding them out in a variety of ways.
Responsible for six submissions and 13 knockouts over his career, as well as a 20-match win streak, Teixeira hasn’t lost a match in more than nine years and he’s earned "Knockout of the Night" and "Submission of the Night" in consecutive matches. Teixeira last blasted American Ryan Bader with a first-round technical knockout back in September, and forced James Te Huna to tap out from a guillotine choke at UFC 160 four months prior.
Originally a wrestler in high school and college, Jones also possesses an array of moves that can counter whatever Teixeira throws his way.
Jones attained his title via technical knockout of Mauricio Rua three years ago, and then applied a rear-naked choke submission to Quinton Jackson in his first defense six months later. Jones applied a standing guillotine choke on Lyoto Machida in UFC 140 and used a keylock to challenger Vitor Belfort at UFC 152.
Odds: Jones -600
Prediction: Teixeira could be a much tougher opponent for Jones than many expect. However, Jones should find a way to win by decision.