As of late, UFC’s longtime light heavyweight champ, Jon Jones (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) has recently had to resort to taking on challengers from the UFC’s middleweight division after clearing out all of the competition in his respected weight class.
Saturday night, Jones looks to face a true light heavyweight contender in Dominick Reyes. Reyes (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is currently ranked #2 in the light heavyweight division, and has been on a tear since entering the UFC in June of 2016, going 6-0 with four of those wins coming by way of knockout or submission.
A closer look
Reyes has victories over two former title challengers in the division, defeating Ovince St. Preux by unanimous decision back in October of 2018, and Volkan Oezdemir by split decision back in March of 2019.
Reyes went to war with both fighters, essentially knocking out Preux seconds before the fight ended, and winning a very close decision against Oezdemir.
Due to an attempt to walk-off after dropping Preux, the referee let the last five seconds of the fight play out, resulting in a unanimous decision for Reyes.
The fight against Oezdemir was a back-and-forth war, resulting in a somewhat controversial split decision victory for Reyes.
Reyes then followed that up by knocking out former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, in his first UFC main event.
He is taking that momentum into this fight and has gone as fas as to say that he sees an upset coming with the way things are set up for him, going into Saturday.
“Right now I’m happy, I’m focused, I’m excited, I mean, my weight’s on point, everything’s on point,” said Reyes in a fight-week interview with MMA Junkie. “The stars are aligning, I feel it all around me, you know. Houston’s a special place, there’s been some crazy upsets here. I beat Weidman, Weidman beat Silva. There’s all kinds of juice and all this energy flowing around me, and I feel the energy.”
Reyes looks to shock the world on Saturday night and bring home UFC gold to Apple Valley, California.
Jones took notice of Reyes’ comments to MMA Junkie and took the opportunity at media day to once again, school Reyes on his mental approach going into UFC 247.
“One thing about saying that you’re going to knock somebody out is you’re putting all your eggs in one basket,” said Jones. “When you say that you’re gonna knock a person out, and we’re going into round four, and you’re breathing hard and I’m not, it could cause a sense of panic, so he’s adding a sense of pressure on himself.”
Jones is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all-time, he is the longest reigning champion in UFC history and he is also the youngest champion in UFC history, winning the light heavyweight title at 23 years-old against hall of famer, Shogun Rua.
While Reyes looks to shock the world like Jones did against Rua, Jon Jones is entering his thirteenth title defense going into UFC 247.
Despite this being the champs thirteenth title defense, this is only the second time he has defended against an undefeated fighter.
The last undefeated opponent being former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, back in January of 2015.
Heading into the fight, this is a very close match up and Reyes isnt the only one talking about the feeling of a potential upset being in the Houston air.
Earlier in the week, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani wrote an article about his thoughts on UFC 247 as well as on other various topics surrounding the UFC’s future. fights, dates, etc.
“I want to be clear about something right off the bat: I think a lot of people are sleeping on Dominick Reyes this weekend,” said Helwani. “In fact, I’m getting a little bit of a Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 1 circa UFC 162 vibe going into Saturday. Long-reigning champion going up against relatively unknown undefeated contender whom the champion might or might not consider to be a legitimate threat,” he added. “Going into the Weidman fight, the thought was that Silva was a win away from securing that Georges St-Pierre superfight. Going into this fight, the thought seems to be that Jones is a win away from securing a heavyweight title shot.”
Interesting thoughts from the 2019’s MMA Journalist of the Year, Ariel Helwani, but his statements seem to be on par with what the fight week vibe has been in Houston.
A potential upset for Jones is something all of the hardcore media and fans are talking about ahead of UFC 247.