Matches to Make for Dominick Reyes Beyond UFC 247 Rematch

UFC's Dominick Reyes

Getty UFC's Dominick Reyes

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defeated Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 247. Judges scored the bout 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Jones.

But Reyes gave the best fighter in MMA all he could handle for five full rounds. In fact, some in the sport even believe Reyes should have been given the nod by judges. Most notably, UFC president Dana White told reporters in the post-fight press conference that he scored the bout for Reyes.

Regardless, now that UFC 247 is over, the most pressing question for Reyes is what to do next. Sure, the 205-pound contender absolutely wants (and probably deserves) an immediate rematch against Jones. But what if that doesn’t (or simply can’t) happen next? Jones, after all, could be moving up to heavyweight for a big-money fight or might feel obligated to fight Corey Anderson next should the latter win his next fight.

Here are the three matches the UFC could make for Reyes that might be just as compelling as Jones-Reyes 2. Most importantly for Reyes, these are fights that could help bolster his chances of getting another crack at the title soon.

Thiago Santos

Before Reyes gave all Jones he could handle over five solid rounds of excellent work, it was Santos who did something similar last year at UFC 239 in July. Indeed, Santos also ended up on the wrong end of a split decision against Jones. Worse, the 36-year-old Brazilian also ended up needing double knee surgery after the bout.

But Santos should be ready for action again in a couple months, and if Reyes can’t land the gig for an immediate rematch against Jones, maybe Reyes vs. Santos would produce the fighter that gets the next crack at the UFC’s light heavyweight championship.

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Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira Winner

Smith is ranked No. 3 in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings. The 31-year-old American defeated Alexander Gustaffson in June to solidify his standing among the top 205-pounders in the sport. But Smith lost virtually every round to Jones three months prior at UFC 235 and probably hopes to work his way to another title shot soon. Assuming Smith defeats Glover Teixeira in April, perhaps he’d be willing to face Reyes in his next fight. Of course, Teixeira, 40, from Brazil, will hope to spoil that idea. He’s won three straight since losing to Corey Anderson in 2018 and is no easy out.

Volkan Oezdemir Rematch

While Reyes might feel slighted by the judges in Texas after Saturday’s fight, some observers felt the same on behalf of Volkan Oezdemir after the Swiss 205-pounder lost to Reyes via split decision in March 2019. But Oezdemir won two straight after that defeat and would probably like another crack at the upstart challenger who almost pulled off the shocker in Houston, Reyes

Besides, if Reyes is so sure he deserves the rematch against Jones, why not show the world he’d be willing to do the same in the reverse situation by giving Oezdemir another crack? It’s a sellable fight that could keep Reyes busy if Jones takes some time off or pursues a more lucrative fight at heavyweight.

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