Jon Jones’ next UFC light heavyweight title defense is now official — UFC 169 vs. Glover Teixeira on Super Bowl weekend in Newark, N.J.
And here’s an added surprise for that Feb. 1, 2014, card at the Prudential Center, Newsday has learned: Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir will be on that same night.
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The two heavyweights were originally scheduled to fight in November at UFC 167. But according to UFC officials, the promotion and representatives from the Nevada State Athletic Commission chose to provide more time for Mir following his Aug. 31 knockout loss to Josh Barnett.
[10/7/13 Update: Dana White says Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira will not be happening Super Bowl Weekend.]
"While there was no indication whatsoever that Mir wouldn’t be fully, medically cleared in time to compete on November 16th, UFC officials and Nevada Commission representatives believed that a short postponement would allow both athletes more time to train for the bout," the UFC said in a statement to Newsday.
Overeem was once on track to be the next big heavyweight star in the UFC. Now, he’s one loss away from being cut from the roster.
After coming over from Strikeforce, Overeem decimated former champ Brock Lesnar in the first round in December 2011. Overeem (36-13) then was suspended nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for elevated levels of testosterone in 2012 and was knocked out in both of his fights this year (by Antonio Silva and Travis Browne).
Mir (16-8), a former UFC champion, has lost his last three fights. UFC president Dana White said two weeks ago that this bout is “definitely” a must-win for each fighter if they want to remain in the world’s largest MMA promotion.
Verbal agreements are in place for Jones and Teixeira to meet on the eve of the Super Bowl.
Jones set a UFC record with his sixth consecutive light heavyweight title defense last month when he won a unanimous decision over Alexander Gustafsson. That was the first time MMA observers saw Jones struggle against an opponent. That was the first time Jones, a 2005 New York State wrestling champion, had been taken down in a fight. That was the first time that an opponent had a legitimate claim for an immediate rematch against Jones.
But it is Teixeira (22-2), winner of five straight in the UFC and 20 in a row overall, who will get the next opportunity to stop Jones. While Jones (19-1) does have one loss on his record, it was by disqualification for an illegal elbow landing on a grounded Matt Hamill.
The UFC typically holds its Super Bowl weekend show in Las Vegas, but since broadcast partner Fox will air the NFL’s premier showcase event, executives wanted both events in the same area. MetLife Stadium hosts Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, the first time the NFL has held the game outdoors in a cold-weather city. Tickets for UFC 169 will go on sale to the public on Oct. 25.
Jones first won the title with a complete destruction of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in Newark on March 19, 2011. He returned to the Prudential Center last April and stopped Chael Sonnen in the first round.
What will happen to the Overeem-Mir slot on the UFC 167 pay-per-view, headlined by welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, has yet to be determined. It is possible a prelim bout could be elevated to the main card and another bout be added to the undercard. Another possibility is that a new fight bout could be put together to fill the pay-per-view slot left vacated by Mir vs. Overeem.