Despite a heated rivalry with Jon Jones in his first UFC title fight, Dominick Reyes doesn’t feel any different heading into his next title shot, against Jan Blachowicz. With that scrap less than two weeks away, Reyes discussed the bout at a virtual media session Tuesday. And for Reyes, it’s business as usual.
“Preparing for a title fight, it’s a big, big huge moment,” Reyes said, asked about the transition from the Jones fight to this one. “Every opponent, I’m treating it the same way.”
Reyes no doubt knows how lucky he is to be in this situation. In February, the 30-year old California native lost what was judged a unanimous decision to Jon Jones. Many observers questioned the result, however, and the unanimous nature of the verdict does not do justice to how close the fight really was.
Reyes, and many others, championed for a rematch. Instead, Jones initially leaned towards a bout with Jan Blachowicz. Then vacated the title, hinting at a move to heavyweight.
“A title shot is something that doesn’t come around every day,” Reyes noted. “It’s very special, you’ve got to earn it.”
Now that he has had some time to fine-tune things since the Jones fight, “I feel like a monster right now,” Reyes exclaimed. “I’m ready to get in there and show the world what’s up.”
If there’s any one champion Reyes looks up to, he wasn’t about to let it slip ahead of his second title shot in the UFC. “All the champs. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and sacrifice to become champion,” he said, asked about those who came before. “And whether it’s one fight or ten fights or thirty fights, I’ve admired all the champions.”
As far as how his own reign might go, “I’m imagining after I win this fight, god willing, that I’m fighting probably the winner of Thiago-Glover, and we’ll go from there,” Reyes said. That’s a fight he sees Thiago winning. Outside of that, however, “I’m not looking too far ahead. I’m looking at that fight being sometime next year.”
Of course, Jan Blachowicz comes first. “He’s a super-tough guy, and he’s been through a lot of wars,” Reyes observed.
What Reyes’ potential title reign won’t involve, however, is a move to heavyweight. “I’ll face whoever wants to come up to 205 to fight,” Reyes stated. “If they want to come down from heavyweight, if they want to come up from middleweight, I’ll fight them. But light heavyweight’s my division, and I’m going to prove it for a long time.”
Dominick Reyes faces Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight championship on Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi, on Saturday, September 26.