This past Saturday, Reyes marked his return to action after a year and a half’s hiatus against Ryan Spann on the preliminary card of UFC 281 at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York. He went into the outing off a vicious knockout loss to reigning light heavyweight king Jiri Prochazka in May 2021. ‘The Devastator’ tried to go for an early finish but succumbed to a monstrous jab from Spann that knocked him out cold in the opening round of the bout.
It marked Reyes’ fourth straight loss in a row, with his last three coming by way of knockout to Prochazka, former champion Jan Blachowicz, and Spann.
In Feb. 2020, Reyes put his 12-fight unbeaten record on the line to challenge former light heavyweight champion, Jones, widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, in the main event of UFC 247.
He appeared to have got the better of the dominant longtime champion and looked set to hand Jones the first defeat of his professional career. But he eventually got edged out by ‘Bones’ in a razor-thin decision win that many believe could have gone either way.
White Says Reyes Hasn’t Been the Same Since Fighting Jones
At the post-fight press conference, White got asked about Reyes’ brutal fall from grace in just two and a half years.
“Just a couple years ago, he was on the brink of being the first guy to legitimately beat Jon Jones. Now, it’s four losses in a row. Are you surprised by this fall from grace from him?” A reporter asked.
“Literally exactly what you said is what we were just talking about in the back after the fights were over,” said White. “Yeah, it’s almost like he hasn’t been the same since that Jon Jones fight.”
When asked about Reyes’ future after the hard loss, White did not indicate any concrete plans yet.
“I don’t know right now. I think first and foremost I would see what he wants to do and where is he at mentally and what’s he thinking.
Reyes Released a Statement After the Loss
Reyes took to his Instagram to share a statement with his fans following the result.
“I was hungry to get my hand raised and rushed the fight. I’m OK, I live to fight another day. Another lesson learned. Congrats to [Alex Pereira]. What an incredible performance to become the middleweight champion. God is good always. Thank you to my friends and family who support me, to my management [Tiki Ghosn and Julian Gregorio]. And big thank you to [Glover Teixeira and Fernely Feliz Sr.] for the camp and believing in me. I’ll be back, just have to shake it off and get back in there.
“Big thank you to the [UFC, Dana White, and Madison Square Garden] for the opportunity. The energy was amazing last night and it felt great to be in the arena again!”