Light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira and reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones are on top of their division for a reason -- they are both winners, and they have a mutual respect for each other.
"We have no reason to disrespect each other," Jones said at a media event in Baltimore Feb. 5. "He knows exactly what I've done to people. I know what he's capable of doing to people. And there's no reason for us to sit here and try to disrespect each other -- we're both pretty good at what we do."
The two will fight at UFC 172 April 26 at the Baltimore Arena, and one has to assume respect will take a backseat to adrenaline and a desire to win, as there can be only one winner and one UFC light heavyweight champion.
"We don't have to talk to promote this fight," Teixeira said. "We're going put up a great show for the fans. That's what it's all about."
Teixeira, 22-2-0, will enter his first UFC title fight having won his last 20 bouts. A Brazilian striker and jui jitsu specialist, Teixeira has gone 5-0 since making his UFC debut in May 2012, finishing four of his last five fights inside two rounds. His only UFC contest to go the distance was against former light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, whom he defeated in a unanimous decision in January 2013.
In preparation for UFC 172, Teixeira said, he has been watching film of Jones' most recent title defense against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, a fight many feel Jones narrowly escaped. Teixeira said he knew what Gustafsson had done specifically to gain an advantage, but chose not to reveal the tactic just in case he decided to use it come fight night.
Teixeira will be 34 years old when he takes on the 26-year-old Jones in April, but despite his age, he said he felt he's the best fighter he's ever been, both mentally and physically.
"I think it's going to be a great fight," Teixeira said. "I hope it'll be like a war, and in the end, I raise my hand with the victory."
Jones, 19-1-0, will enter this fight to defend his UFC light heavyweight title for a record seventh time. During his five years in mixed martial arts, Jones has taken the sport by storm. Since defeating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 for the title in 2011, Jones has become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
For his fight against Teixeira, Jones hopes to get back in his zone, a state of mind he said he hadn't been quite in tune with during his fight in September. Though Jones did win the fight, it wasn't the performance many had come to expect from him.
"Honestly, there wasn't any actual move he was using that was my kryptonite … I was just not in the zone," Jones said of the night he fought Gustafsson. "What I'm hoping for in this Glover fight is that I'll be back to my usual self, totally in the zone, meet the zone with my hard work and have a dominating victory like I'm used to."
Although he said he wasn't underestimating Teixeira in the slightest, Jones feels he is just starting to hit his stride and will successfully defend his title in April.
"I'm just really confident at this stage in my career," Jones said. "It's not a matter of looking past my opponent; it's just looking into my future in a positive light."
Tickets to UFC 172 will go on sale Feb. 7. For more information, visit BaltimoreArena.com.