This Saturday, the UFC is providing us with one of the best title fights in recent memory: Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira. UFC 172 has all the trappings of an epic battle for the ages. We have Jon Jones, one of the best fighters in the game, taking on a devastating opponent looking to not only take the title, but kill the champion in the process. I, for one, can’t wait.
I’m not going to provide you with a breakdown or my predictions. I’m just here to tell you that this is what the UFC needs. And taking it one step further, the UFC needs Jon Jones to answer the call, defend his title, and pick up the superstar mantle that has been vacant due to the loss of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva.
Jones is already a superstar. He’s a dominant champion who comes from professional sports royalty (his brothers Arthur and Chandler –both Syracuse grads!– currently play in the NFL). He’s a big ticket seller. Slap his name on a Nike shirt and the Swoosh can sell it for $75. But what the UFC needs is for him to become a rockstar.
In his last fight against Alexander Gustafsson, Jones looked mortal. Using his ferocious elbows he was able to defeat Gustafsson in what has been called the greatest Light Heavyweight battle in history. I think the collective UFC fan base is all itching to see whether that was just a fluke, or whether Jones is actually beatable.
For the UFC’s purposes and for overall great sports storylines, the best possible outcome is for Jones to defeat Teixeira in a no-holds barred, leave it all in the octagon brawl. That would allow Jones to take one step closer to becoming a UFC superhero and the organization’s golden boy. Right now the UFC is promoting Ronda Rousey like it’s going out of style, and it’s working. But what the UFC really needs is for Jones to answer the call and become the undisputed leader and main draw for fans everywhere.