Undefeated light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes told Heavy he expects to defeat UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for the title this weekend at UFC 247 in Houston in what would be a massive upset that sends shockwaves throughout the entire world of sports.
But Reyes, 30, from Hesperia, Calif., wouldn’t give away the particulars of the secret formula he’d been developing over the years that the fighter believes he can use to do something no other UFC fighter has been able to do over the last decade. Reyes believes he’ll be the one to finally beat Jones. He just won’t say how.
“I can’t tell you the secret, right?” Reyes said.
While Reyes wouldn’t give away his game plan, he did say he’d been preparing for this particular fight against Jones for his entire MMA career.
“Because, man, it’s my time,” Reyes said. “I’ve been training for Jon since I started MMA. Not everybody who fought Jon has been training for Jon since they started.”
To the No. 4 contender in the division, that’s the thing that separates Reyes from the other opponents Jones has faced. In fact, Reyes likened his entire career to a single process dedicated to preparing to defeat Jones.
“So I’ve been slowly preparing and getting ready for this fight,” Reyes said. “It’s been a very slow burn, and everything has lined up just perfectly for this moment. And I just believe it’s my time.”
Just how long has Reyes been thinking about fighting Jones? A long time.
“I think once I started fighting as an amateur, I saw his (Alexander Gustafsson) fight, and I was like I might fight this guy one day,” Reyes said. “I won a couple amateur fights and I was like I’m actually good at this. I really enjoy this. This might be something I want to do.”
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Reyes Admits Admiring Champion’s Accomplishments
But Reyes admitted that wanting to beat Jones had nothing to do really with not appreciating the champion’s long and storied career. Instead, Reyes said his admiration of Jones over the years is the thing that ultimately became why he wanted to fight him.
Jones holds the UFC records for most wins in the division (19) and most title defenses (10).
“For me, when I start something, I want to be the best,” Reyes said. “I want to be the world champion. My parents used to tell me, no matter what you do, be the best at it.”
Jones has certainly been the best MMA fighter over the last decade. Some even consider the UFC’s current No. 1 pound-for-pound athlete the best MMA fighter of all-time. So Jones’ status among his peers is exactly the thing that motivated Reyes to seek a fight against Jones.
“As a fighter, I want to be the best fighter,” Reyes said. “The standard for excellence in Jon Jones. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. So I was like alright, I’m going to have to beat Jon one day.”