Dominic Reyes during UFC 247.
Dominic Reyes during UFC 247.

Dominic Reyes talks about how Jan Blachowicz fight made him 're-examine everything'

  • He will face inaugural and former Rizin FF Light Heavyweight Champion Jiří Procházka on Sunday to silence his doubters.
By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2021 02:15 PM IST

If you ask Mixed Martial Arts fans and critics about who is the greatest fighter of all time, then many would name Jon Jones. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has a 26-1 record in MMA and that one loss also came as a result of a disqualification. He is practically undefeated in the UFC and several fighters have tried to solve the mystery surrounding Jones.

However, Dominic Reyes came close to defeating Jones when they matched up in 2020. Reyes had a closely fought match with Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at the Toyota Center in Houston. And he lost out due to a controversial decision by judges in favour of Jones. Many had Reyes winning the fight due to his incredible striking in the early rounds. In fact, 14 media outlets out of 21 had Reyes winning that fight at UFC 247.

Due to the hype created by his performance against Jones, Reyes got another crack at the title in 2020. This time his opponent was Jan Blachowicz and they were fighting for the title vacated by Jones, who was moving up to heavyweight. But Reyes fell short on that night as Blachowicz won the fight in the second round.

Things have changed and Reyes is now planning to earn another shot at the title. He has to face inaugural and former Rizin FF Light Heavyweight Champion Jiří Procházka on Sunday to prove his credentials again. They were supposed to fight in February but the contest got postponed due to Reyes’ injury. Prochazka might not be well known to the UFC audience by he is a tough opponent for Reyes. The Czech hasn’t lost a fight since 2015 and is coming off an impressive knockout of former challenger Volkan Oezdemir.

Reyes talked to Hindustan Times’ Yash Bhati about his opponent at UFC Fight Night.

“Jiri's strengths are his mindset and his likability. He's very athletic, he moves a lot. He is very confident in himself, I think that's his biggest attribute. He's definitely a strong addition to the division, absolutely. He's a good strong opponent, and it's going to be a good fight. There is a good amount of hype involved as well, but he's earned his spot. He's number five, I'm number three, so it's going to be a great fight,” Reyes said.

The light heavyweight championship was defended against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya earlier this year. Blachowicz came out on top during that fight and it pleased Reyes despite the Polish fighter being his opponent.

“I'm more interested in Jan's defending the light heavyweight division's honor. If you come up to the light heavyweight division, it's not an easy walk in the park, like how these guys make it out to be. So I'm happy with the way that it went.”

Reyes also named Blachowicz as the toughest opponent he has faced.

“My toughest match was my last one. My only real loss was my last fight and it's made me re-examine everything and really get my stuff together. Really see things for what they are, as opposed to what I think they are,” said Reyes.

With two former champions, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, does Reyes also plan to move up a division in the future? Here’s his answer.

“If the weight cut started becoming a problem, then yes. If my body started becoming a heavyweight body then I would. But not for any kind of "double champ" status. For no other reason than I had to.” Reyes concluded.

Watch UFC Fight Night - Reyes vs Prochazka this Sunday, May 2, 2021, LIVE from 7.30 am IST only on Sony Ten 2 channels.

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