ESPN Champion Jon Jones has pulled out of his just-announced UFC light heavyweight title fight against Glover Teixeira, company president Dana White said Thursday night. The pay-per-view event, UFC 170, is set for Feb. 22 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The bout was initially announced for UFC 169 on Feb. 1, but White later acknowledged no deal had been finalized for that date before announcing the fight’s cancellation Thursday. When asked if Jones was injured, Dana responded, “No.” “He won’t fight Feb. 22,” White said. “It might be March now.” Jones (19-1) set the UFC record for consecutive light heavyweight title defenses in September, defeating Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision for his sixth defense. The bout was extremely close, which caused some speculation the UFC would book Jones and Gustafsson to an immediate rematch. White told ESPN.com in October, however, that Jones personally requested to fight Teixeira next. Teixeira (22-2) has recorded 20 consecutive victories dating to 2006. The Brazilian is 5-0 since signing with the UFC last year, a run that includes four finishes.
I am not one of the UFC fans who believes in conspiracies, I do not think that Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones is scared of Glover Teixeira, and I do not think that Jones is ducking a match-up with the Brazilian. Anyone who follows this site knows that I am a huge Glover Teixeira fan, I think he is going to be a tough fight for Jones, and I think that he has an excellent chance to become the next UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Teixeira is an incredibly tough guy, he is an excellent wrestler with deadly hands, who happens to be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I think Teixeira is more skilled overall that Alexander Gustafsson, who almost beat Jon Jones in his last fight, except he does not have the length that made Gustafsson such a match-up problem for Jones. I do not think that, as some have suggested, Jones does not want to fight Teixeira next because he does not have name recognition but is a huge risk. A rematch with Gustafsson will likely bring in more pay-per-view revenue, and the risk/reward is probably greater than it would be for Jones if he fought Teixeira next. However, I do not think that Jones is thinking with his wallet and trying to avoid a dangerous fight with Teixeira, which will not bring him as big of a payday. Jones is not scared of anybody, Teixeira has earned this fight, Jones knows he deserves the title shot. A deal will get worked out, Teixeria will be Jones next title defense, likely in March. If this fight does not happen next for Jones, I will be the first to say he is ducking Teixeira, but I have faith in The Champ and Dana White that Teixeira will be Jones next opponent.