Dominick Reyes is just one week away from the biggest fight of his life and the nerves have to be setting in.
Reyes, who has amassed an undefeated 12-0 record since turning pro back in 2014, is entering a five-round light heavyweight title fight with UFC champion Jon Jones at UFC 247 on Feb. 8 from Houston, Texas, and it’s going to be one interesting battle. While Reyes has never fought anybody quite like Jones, who many consider to be the best pound-for-pound fighter of all-time, “Devastator” does pose some interesting threats to the champ, such as his size and massive punching power.
Still, Reyes will enter UFC 247 as a large underdog against Jones. Having never actually lost inside of the cage throughout his entire career, Jones is expected to win every fight he enters. It’s up to Reyes to set aside Jones’ greatness and focus on the one thing that matters most.
“(If) I win the belt, I’m in the record books forever – period,” Reyes told media members earlier this week (h/t MMA Junkie). “I beat Jon, now it’s the cherry on top. Now it’s creeping into legendary status. But that’s just a nice little cherry on top. For me, winning the belt is everything.”
In order to win Reyes must not only defeat Jones physically, but also mentally. “Devastator” had a recent test to prove himself at UFC 247’s pre-fight press conference earlier this month in Las Vegas, as he came face-to-face with the champ. Reyes handled himself well on stage and left the press conference an ever more confident contender.
“I wasn’t intimidated at all,” Reyes said. “It was interesting. In the faceoffs, that was the first time I ever met Jon in my life, or even (got) near him. We came face to face, and my heart rate didn’t raise at all. I felt at home. I felt like, ‘This is it. This is Jon Jones.’ The allure of Jon Jones is a lot bigger than he actually is.
“I thought he was going to be glowing or some (expletive). My whole life, I grew up watching this guy and exuding all this different kind of energy, and when I saw him and I faced off this far away from him, I was like, ‘This guy is just a man with many insecurities.’ You can see it all over him.”
Despite any “insecurities” Jones may or may not have, the legendary UFC champion still competes at the highest level when the lights burn brightest. It’s up to Reyes to rise to the occasion and turn his first UFC title shot into “just a fight.”
“Every single person is trying to tell you that, ‘Oh my God, you’re fighting Jon Jones. What are you going to do?’ I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna do what I’m great at. I’m gonna do what I love doing. People think it’s a lot more. It’s still a fight. It’s just a fight.”
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