UFC 172 preview: Five burning questions heading into 'Jones vs Teixeira' in Baltimore

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Before every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans toggle between possible scenarios and what to expect days before it all unfolds in front of their eyes. Probable outcomes, distinguishable facts and head-scratching theories are all part of the mystique that surrounds the fights on any given night. We ask ourselves the same questions … and try to uncover different answers.

Can't stop, won't stop.

Fresh off two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events just four days apart, the promotion keeps the wheels rolling on pay-per-view (PPV) this weekend (Sat., April 26, 2014) as UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira" takes place at Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continues his quest to become the greatest fighter who ever lived when he goes up against the heavy-handed Glover Teixeira in the championship main event.

"Bones" is coming off a narrow victory against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto, while the Brazilian enters this contest on a 20-fight winning streak, finishing four out of five UFC opponents.

The co-main event should be a fun one as well, as Phil Davis tries to get the recognition he needs to move forward in the championship picture, welcoming Anthony Johnson back into the fold.

"Rumble" amassed a six-fight winning streak during his time away from the organization, including two spectacular knockout victories in World Series of Fighting (WSOF).

With several interesting storylines emerging from this card, check out our "Five Burning Questions" heading into these fights in Baltimore:

5. Is Jim Miller too tall of an order for Yancy Medeiros?

Jim Miller has been around the block. He's the type of guy who usually takes care of the grill at a barbecue or leads the pack when a few friends go out hunting for deer.

He's basically the grittiest lightweight you can face inside the Octagon and the only four competitors he's ever lost to have either become champions (Frankie Edgar, Benson Henderson) or have acquired title shots (Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz).

Having said that, news broke out a few days ago that his original opponent, Bobby Green, had to bow out of the match against the New Jersey native after suffering an injury.

Yancy Medeiros has agreed to step up to the plate, after his crushing knockout against Yves Edwards back at UFC: "Fight for the Troops 3" was declared a "No Contest" because "The Kid" failed a drug test for pot (because you know, marijuana makes you do crazy things like knock people out).

The AMA Fight Club veteran could be too much to handle for the 9-1 lightweight, yet perhaps this is a way for the latter to get back into the company's good graces and topple a mainstay like Miller.

4. Can Joseph Benavidez bounce back and book a trilogy fight against Demetrious Johnson?

He's definitely going to have to put in the work first.

Joseph Benavidez was inches away from defeating Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152, losing by one or two rounds according to many observers. He had a second go at the champion three months later at UFC on FOX 9, suffering the worst defeat of his career.

"Joe B-Wan Kenobi" can erase his first-round knockout loss to "Mighty Mouse" by defeating Tim Elliott in the "prelims" main event of the FOX Sports 1 (FS1) broadcast this weekend. No disrespect to Elliott, but it seems like the "Joe-Jitsu Practitioner" was booked against the Grindhouse MMA flyweight to get the win column rolling again.

As Johnson prepares for Ali Bagautinov at UFC 174 this summer, the Team Alpha Male flyweight could earn a third crack at the champion after a few good performances in the upcoming months.

But he has to make it feel reasonable. The way he went out in their second fight was bad, so he's got to give his bosses a reason to believe a third meeting would be vastly different.

3. Is Luke Rockhold the next big middleweight star?

This seems like a phony question for fans who have watched Luke Rockhold in Strikeforce and had a crush on him ever since.

I'm not just talking about those perfect abs, either.

Complete with movie star looks and a true fighter's frame, Rockhold is a perfect example of a combatant who doesn't need to waste his time talking to generate interest in his fights.

He's the last fighter to hold the Strikeforce middleweight championship and performed amazingly in the now-defunct promotion with an undefeated record of 9-0. Plus, if it wasn't for a TRT-fueled Vitor Belfort, who knocked his head off in his first UFC fight, UFC 175 could have looked a lot different.

All this is nonsense if he can't beat Tim Boetsch on the main card this weekend. It's going to be a tough fight, since "The Barbarian" is as durable as they come and isn't easy to put away.

Although, if the 29-year-old San Jose-based fighter can overcome the grittiness of his opponent, we may see him in a title eliminator bout sometime soon.

2. How close will Phil Davis or Anthony Johnson be to the light heavyweight title with a win?

This fight is a true light heavyweight chess match. Davis is a good, technical striker who has some of the best wrestling in the sport being a Penn State grad, while his opponent has fierce knockout power and has the accolade of being a NJCAA state wrestling champion, too.

UFC President Dana White said earlier this week that he doesn't see the drive from "Mr. Wonderful" when it comes to him wanting a title shot. Maybe it's due to Davis' inactivity for almost a year, not competing since UFC 163 where his controversial win against Lyoto Machida is a good enough reason to think he may not deserve a shot. "Rumble" also has some unfinished business in UFC, released after a decent promotional record of 7-4.

The winner of this fight will need to sit on the sidelines to see how the situation involving Alexander Gustafsson plays out, and then watch Daniel Cormier against Dan Henderson in a light heavyweight title eliminator bout.

Therefore, what's left for the winner to accomplish after this weekend?

Rashad Evans trains alongside Johnson and he's already beaten Davis. Dan Henderson viciously finished Mauricio "Shogun" Rua a month ago, so that cancels out a fight against the Brazilian for now. The winner of Ryan Bader against Rafael Cavalcante at UFC 174 is an option, but those two are so far from the championship picture, it's not event funny.

It seems like the winner of the co-main event will face the loser of the main event, because really, who is left after that?

It's going to be a big win for one of these competitors, but one with very little upside. "Mr. Wonderful" can tell you all about those.

1. How big of an upset would a Glover Teixeira win over Jon Jones be?

Instead of asking ourselves if Teixeira stands a chance against Jones, let's try to think of a bigger upset in the sport's history.

I'm not talking about betting odds here, either. If nobody gave "The Mauler" a chance to win against Jones, how do you think the general feeling for Teixeira is going into this fight?

The Brazilian is 34 years of age, having made his UFC debut just two years ago. The hype surrounding the beast was for real, after he decimated Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado.

However, after seeing him nearly finished by Ryan Bader in his last fight at UFC Fight Night 28, his chances against "Bones" are very slim.

We're talking about a phenomenon here, folks. The New Yorker has the tools to be the greatest mixed martial artist ever, yet every king falls, too. Maybe Jones' fight against Gustafsson took a lot out of him, but on the contrary, it could have lit a fire under his ass to never be susceptible to that kind of beating again.

If Matt Serra against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69 was huge, followed by Fabricio Werdum submitting Fedor Emilianenko in Strikeforce, and then Chris Weidman against Anderson Silva at UFC 162, Teixeira could enter the record books if he puts away the champion this weekend -- earning quite possibly the biggest upset ever in this sport.

Easier said than done, my friends.

Check out the finalized fight card for UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira," including bout order here.

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