To borrow a line from another UFC champion, Jon Jones is not impressed with the two fighters the UFC will potentially line him up against should he defeat Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 on Saturday night.
The two potential opponents that drew the ire of the UFC light heavyweight champion were Glover Teixeira and Daniel Cormier.
Teixeira was all but promised the next shot at the UFC light heavyweight title after he earned a first round TKO over Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28. Teixeira was anointed as the next contender by UFC president Dana White via Marshall Zelaznik, UFC Managing Director of International Development, at the post-fight press conference. “Yeah, it’s confirmed. Dana [White]’s confirmed it. Joe [Silva]’s confirmed. Glover gets the next shot”
Cormier’s name has been floated around as a potential opponent for Jones as well. During a recent Google Hangout, White said that a Cormier win over Roy Nelson at UF 166 would “probably” give Cormier, who plans to drop to light heavyweight after that fight, a shot at Jones.
Ariel Helwani tweeted that White admitted a bit of a faux pas on that Cormier shot, but nonetheless, Cormier is, as they say, “in the mix.”
When asked about the two fighters Jones was a wee bit dismissive of both men, while speaking to MMAFighting.com. After defeating Bader, Teixeira said he might have let his confidence get the best of him. Jones seized upon that point:
If you’re a seasoned vet and you said you allowed overconfidence to be your weakness, it’s still a weakness you allowed to happen in the first place. If you have a great opponent and great understanding, then you won’t rush into a guy like Ryan Bader who is obviously going to swing looping punches at you. I don’t think he’s the guy who’s going to beat me.
Jones’ comments on Cormier were a little bit more personal:
To be honest with you, I don’t think Daniel Cormier really deserves a big fight. I don’t respect him as a person. I think fighting me would be an opportunity of a lifetime for him. I don’t think I have much to gain from beating Daniel Cormier because no one knows who he is, and he hasn’t really proved much.
He seems to really not like me and be a big hater of mine. It’s sad, considering we’re both African-American and there’s not many of us in the sport. We should try to find a common bond. We don’t need to be friends, but we should at least respect each other. It’s pathetic that me and Rashad have such a bad relationship and me and Daniel have such a bad relationship.
There’s obviously some animosity between Jones and Cormier, and that type of drama often piques the interest of the UFC. It allows the promotion to use that tension to build a narrative around the fight, generating interest that hopefully translates to ticket sales and pay-per-view buys.
If Jones has his hand raised in victory at UFC 165, it will be interesting to see if the UFC delivers on its promise to book Teixeira versus Jones or waits to see how Cormier fares against Nelson. Promised UFC title fights have disappeared before. With Jones and Cormier providing a ready-made storyline for the UFC marketing machine, well, Glover Teixeira may want to start perusing the list of top ten light heavyweights just in case.
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