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UFC 275 preview: Glover Teixeira claims Jiri Prochazka ‘can’t compare’ to Jon Jones — and that’s a problem

UFC 172: Jones v Teixeira Photo by Patrick Smith/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Glover Teixeira is UFC light heavyweight champion.

The Brazilian earned that title by submitting Jan Blachowicz in the UFC 267 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Oct. in Abu Dhabi, part of an incredible six-fight win streak that dates back to early 2019 and includes five nasty finishes.

Not bad for an athlete who turns 43 in just a few months.

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BLOCKBUSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) International Fight Week returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., July 2, 2022, capped by a stacked card headlined by a blockbuster championship double header. In UFC 276’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, reigning Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, defends his crown against No. 2-ranked contender, Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has his sights set on successfully defending his title once again against No. 1-seeded contender, Max Holloway, for the third (and likely final) time.

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That success set Teixeira on a collision course with international smashing machine Jiri Prochazka, who made his Octagon debut back in summer 2020 and has since racked up consecutive finishes over former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes.

“Denisa” has a frightening 25 knockouts in 28 wins.

But even with the trail of bodies Prochazka left on the overseas fight circuit (sample here), Teixeira believes the 6’3” Hosteradice hurter “can’t compare” to former 205-pound champion Jon Jones, who hastily vacated the division title roughly two years back.

“Prochazka does things that… I wouldn’t call him crazy, but sometimes he does crazy things,” Teixeira told MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “But I’ve fought guys that, man… I can’t compare him to someone like Jon Jones, the top fighters, the best of the best of the division. He does pretty cool things, throws unpredictable attacks, things that are hard to study. [But] he has mistakes, too.”

If Prochazka can’t compare to Jones, then neither can Teixeira.

The 33-7 Brazilian is something of an expert when it comes to the former champ, having battled “Bones” for 25 minutes at UFC 172, back when Jones was treating top title contenders the way soda machines treated Little League ballplayers in Maximum Overdrive.

But his remarks diminish his own accomplishments.

Insisting Prochazka is not on the same level of Jones is an admission that “Bones” is still the best light heavyweight fighter on the planet, giving the current 205-pound title more of an interim feel — not unlike the convoluted Jones-Cormier saga of 2017 and beyond.

Teixeira is the champion ... but he’s not the best in the world (by his own admission).

In a perfect world, the two would not be mutually exclusive. To be fair, this phenomenon is not limited to light heavyweight. Henry Cejudo insisted he was done with UFC (only to later recant) and left not one, but two divisions without its best fighter.

That’s not to suggest a weight class can’t move on after a dominant champ sets sail. Nobody is complaining that Alexander Volkanovski has yet to face Conor McGregor at featherweight and I’m sure another big lightweight win for Charles Oliveira will have fight fans forgetting about Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Assuming they haven’t already.

That’s harder to do at light heavyweight because Teixeira already lost to Jones and is now telling the combat sports media that his next opponent, winner of 12 straight and ranked No. 2 in the world, still can’t compare to the ghost of champions past.

So what does that say about a potential win over Prochazka on June 11 in Singapore?

You can’t punish Teixeira for his success simply because it occurred in the absence of Jones. The Brazilian captured the crown by steamrolling Blachowicz and previously disposed of every contender matchmakers put in his path.

But we’ll never move on from the Jones era if the division champ keeps bringing him up.