Alexander Gustafsson might be stuck in Sweden, but his spirit lives on in Baltimore. Leading up to this weekend's light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, the former contender's name has swirled at least as much as the new one's has. Heavily favored, Jones' triumph over Teixeira almost seems to be a foregone conclusion. That breach in intrigue has been replaced by questions about whether or not Jones has gotten his house in order.
Speaking with Jim Rome on Wednesday, Jones was asked why his coach, Greg Jackson, claimed his preparation leading up to UFC 172 in no way resembles his last training camp.
"Going into the Gustafsson fight I had just beaten Chael Sonnen, somebody that almost beat Anderson Silva twice, and I dominated Chael Sonnen in a minute and thirty seconds,' said Jones. "I think for the first time in my career I really started to feel myself. I really started to think, 'Maybe I've got this extraordinary talent and maybe I just can't be touched.'
"I went 80% [against Gustafsson]. I'm not making any excuses. Gustafsson did a great job in the fight but I know that I had a lot more in me. I did some of the cardio tests that I normally do and my numbers weren't the same. Me knowing that, I still went into the fight thinking, 'Well, since I've performed excellent, maybe I'll still perform really really high, do really good and the fight may be a little closer if I just put half the effort in. I learned a lesson the hard way that you have to give full effort."
Weighing in on Wednesday night's UFC Tonight, Sonnen questioned Jones' decision making leading up to this fight.
"I have some very serious concerns," said Sonnen. "First off, I don't like the way that he's preparing. He got rid of Izzy Martinez, his head wrestling coach. He has delayed this fight three times. Three different dates have been set for this fight because of Jon Jones.
"I think we've got some question marks around the champ coming Saturday night."
Unsurprisingly, Jones' take is quite a bit more optimistic.
"The way this camp has been different is that not only have I given full effort, but I've trampled over some of the numbers I've had in the past," said Jones. "My highest numbers from my cardio test, my strength test. I've increased those numbers in a major way. I know that my cardio is better than ever. I know that my physical shape is the highest it's ever been.
"I'm getting older in the sport. I just feel that my coordination, body awareness and body understanding is at the highest level. I feel like the complete package right now and I'm going to show that."
Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight title to Glover Teixeira Apr. 26 at UFC 172 from the the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Scarred, homie? While most UFC welterweight contenders have been paired off, Hector Lombard says Nick Diaz is 'running' from him.
Alpha Males. Chad Mendes wants his shot at Jose Aldo in August while Urijah Faber expects to return at UFC 175.
Warmaster. According to his manager, Josh Barnett was 'furious at himself' as he watched Travis Browne be dominated by Fabricio Werdum.
Predictions. Luke Thomas breaks down UFC 172.
A fighter's chance. A great piece profiling several combat sports athletes overcoming mental or physical disabilities.
We've got men on the ground in Baltimore so make sure to check out interviews with Luke Rockhold, Joe Benavidez, Jim Miller and others.
Free fight: Jones vs. Belfort.
Max Holloway UFC 172 vlog.
Dana White on ESPN's First Take.
Jones open to superfight with Chuck Liddell.
For you hooper ball fans out there, Charles Barkley is now training MMA and challenging Shaq.
UFC 172 Jones vs Teixeria Care/Don't Care Preview
I wonder how life is post TRT for @vitorbelfort & @sonnench It sucks when you have to work for things. I hear fighting is even harder.— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) April 23, 2014
and to the heaters.
This is just a reminder. To all the heaters out there, That always looking for excuses the more they... http://t.co/Fhp2PbmWOT— Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) April 23, 2014
Done deal. This is gonna be really fun. I can't wait. Title shot coming. #Olympians #fightiingidols... http://t.co/3QxK2OJNey— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 23, 2014
Get well soon.
This is your face on drugs pic.twitter.com/zdEqsTgjiw— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) April 24, 2014
This is your face when the drugs wear off; any questions pic.twitter.com/dRh7ntxYn2— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) April 24, 2014
Good to hear.
I've been cleared to fight! Back in business, baby!!— TJ Waldburger (@TJWaldburger) April 23, 2014
@DustinOrtizMMA @ufc @danawhite @seanshelby i do owe u. New Zealand is too far. Find somewhere else. Lol— Alptekin Ozkilic (@alpozkilicmma) April 23, 2014
Thank you @Orioles for the opportunity to throw out the first pitch on Friday! can't wait :)— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) April 23, 2014
Charlie should get an annuity for that fight.
Can't believe these two were once in the same weight class let alone fought each other! @Anthony_Rumble @SpaniardMMA pic.twitter.com/iZaAyWe0ZX— UFC (@ufc) April 24, 2014
It's only April. Just saying.
Announced yesterday (Apr. 23 2014)
Andrew Craig vs. Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens
Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson at UFC 173
Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante at UFC 174
Antonio Braga Neto vs. Clint Hester at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens
Luiz Dutra vs. Sean Spencer at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via DirtyBird2.
BELLATOR PPV PRICE SET AT 34.99
Not only is this card better than most UFC ppv's but it is priced at a more than reasonable $34.99. According to my cable provider and the page added to the Bellator site just for the PPV. How are you gonna hate on that. I believe this price automaticlly raises the amount of buys exponentially. If they're going to make a $50 PPV it better be worth it and it was but priced at 34.99 is unbelievable. Given I was under the impression it'd be this price all along but it hadnt been confirmed. What do you think? More swayed to buy it now?
Check out the rest of the post here.
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