It's all about the light heavyweights.
UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira" takes place this Saturday night (April 26, 2014) at Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, featuring a light heavyweight championship fight serving as the main event.
Jon Jones looks for his seventh consecutive title defense against Glover Teixeira, who's unbeaten in 20 fights. "Bones" will try to continue his winning streak, which is the longest in UFC light heavyweight history at 10. Teixeira is unbeaten inside the Octagon thus far in five fights.
Anthony Johnson makes his return to UFC after more than two years away, squaring off against Phil Davis in the co-main event. "Mr. Wonderful" has not fought since beating Lyoto Machida at UFC 163 in controversial fashion.
With the majority of this card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let us look into the near future and map out what a victory might mean for these four featured fighters.
Here we go:
A win for Jones doesn't change anything in terms of his legacy. He's expected to win handily.
Beating Teixeira isn't going to be monumental and it's not going to make "Bones" any greater than he already is. The light heavyweight champion will be looking for his seventh consecutive title defense since winning the belt at UFC 128 and if he can overcome the Brazilian's challenge by dishing out some punishment of his own, it's the post-fight plans that matter most in this case.
Arguably the best fighter in the world, the 26-year-old New Yorker would set up a heavily-anticipated rematch against Alexander Gustafsson, since both fighters are taking turns trashing each other in the media as of late and we all know it's bound to happen.
This fight is just another file for "Bones" to stamp or another car to fix in the garage. It's simply another day of work. If he can throw Teixeira out of the Octagon and into the nosebleeds, it sets up battles against "The Mauler" and either Daniel Cormier or Dan Henderson, once those two are done dancing.
If the Brazilian can topple the phenomenal champion, this is where things get scary for the division.
It would mess up any future plans for the outside challengers, since "Jonny Bones" would certainly be given an immediate rematch. As for Teixeira, he would score the biggest upset in quite some time, reminiscent of Matt Serra's knockout against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69.
It would be weird for a 34-year-old combatant to dominate the future of the sport and shake up the plans in the 205-pound weight class. This would mean Gustafsson would probably have to take another fight and the match up between Cormier against Henderson would be far from a number one contender's bout.
Simply put, a win for the underdog would be so huge that it doesn't even seem realistic to envision what would happen in the upcoming months.
You have to give credit to Davis for being more of a showman these days.
He hijacked the UFC 172 media call earlier this week, he's been making jokes in interviews about crushing Jones like a cookie and he's been staying relevant in the division -- even if he hasn't fought since last August at UFC 163.
A win for either co-main event competitor on Saturday night doesn't necessarily materialize into a title shot. "Mr. Wonderful" has only lost one bout out of his nine UFC fights, but he's not exactly the most exciting trooper out there.
If Dana White said he doesn't see the urge from Davis when it comes to a title shot, it basically means the brass wants Davis to go out on his shield and fight a little less carefully. He doesn't have to do it, yet if he wins against Anthony Johnson by utilizing his wrestling, taking his foe down in boring fashion and winning on points, he's not going to earn himself a shot alongside all the commodities that are present in the 205-pound division right now -- even if he becomes the star of the post-fight press conference.
The Penn State grad has to do something out of the ordinary here if he wants his next fight to be against anyone ranked under the number four seed in the official UFC rankings.
After nearly murdering a few unfortunate souls over at World Series of Fighting (WSOF), Johnson is back in the fold, ready to make waves in a division that suits him best.
A victory for "Rumble" would be big, but he wouldn't be given the keys to the city, either. There's no way he leapfrogs the handful of aforementioned guys who are currently in line, yet he could make a statement of his own if he knocks out his opponent by head kick or something like that.
It's important for the Blackzilians product to enter the good graces of his employer and show them he's willing to achieve great feats with a fresh start. He shouldn't feel pressure, although he's pretty far from the belt, to be honest. He's got to make a statement by defeating "Mr. Wonderful" and if he can derail plans for those waiting for a title shot (or a second shot), then so be it.
Unless he finishes his foe, he'll get another bout alongside a mid-card talent shortly afterward.
That's about it.
Check out the finalized UFC 172: "Jones vs. Teixeira" fight card here.