Commentary

The 'old' Jon Jones reappears

Originally Published: April 28, 2014
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

Jon Jones had a Jon Jones night. Can't put it any more simply than that.

With retired NFL star Ray Lewis cageside, Jones performed Lewis' pregame dance prior to the walkout. Later, Jones would say he "nailed it," which he did. He then proceeded to beat down challenger Glover Teixeira in every imaginable (and at times, unimaginable) way.

Afterward, the UFC light heavyweight champion refused to talk about his next challenge: Alexander Gustafsson, the very large Swede with the short shorts who gave Jones his toughest test to date at UFC 165 in September.

"I don't really want to talk about that kid at all," Jones said at the UFC 172 press conference.

Jones' decision to ignore Gustafsson in the wake of his latest win felt like potential ammo for the delirious fans out there (and there are many) who have spent the last seven months accusing Jones of being "scared" of a rematch.

But even the most illogical Jones hater will have trouble spinning that web on the heels of this performance. Even the most die-hard Gustafsson fan will struggle to keep a straight face and say the Swede would look that good against Teixeira.

Jones made a beeline to the center of the Octagon to meet Teixeira in the pocket. Jones played peekaboo with the man later in the fight, holding him out of range with an extended left arm in the way an elementary school bully might.

At no point on Saturday did Jones appear hesitant or unsure whether professional fighting was for him due to that physical war against Gustafsson. The champ looked better than ever.

Gustafsson deserves his rematch, and that fight has the potential to be the biggest pay-per-view of the year for the UFC. But the whole "Jones is afraid of him" plot, it just doesn't fit into reality. It never really did.

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