Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has an uphill battle each and every time it has to hype a 205-pound title contender, because Jon Jones is always going to be the favorite ahead of every light heavyweight title fight.
One of the perks of being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game.
For Dominick Reyes, the promotion opted to focus on his background in college football, where he made a name for himself as a defensive back for the Stony Brook Seawolves. But his dreams of making it to the NFL went unrealized.
“Just didn't work out, man,” Reyes told the cameras for “Countdown to UFC 247.”
That’s all Jones needed to pounce. That, and comments Reyes made about “Bones” never facing a legitimate athlete in his lengthy combat sports career, perhaps forgetting that Daniel Cormier was an Olympic wrestler.
“Dominick Reyes, one of the greatest athletes in Apple Valley history,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Being a big fish in a small pond for so long has really gone to his head. Beating up on cans has got him convinced he’s a better athlete than most of the world. If he was so badass he would’ve won the California state wrestling championships, he would’ve went division one, He would have at least made a practice squad for the NFL. This man is delusional.”
Despite his impeccable record across more than a decade of UFC combat, Jones (25-1, 1 NC) found himself the target of criticism after lackluster performances against former middleweights Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, a far cry from his face-smashing days of light heavyweight dominance.
“Bones” blames his never-ending boredom with “lame” contenders.
Similarly, Reyes (12-0) lost some of his shine after squeaking by Volkan Oezdemir last March, a performance that was followed up with a knockout win over the shop-worn Chris Weidman, himself a local hero in college athletics.
Jones will defend against Reyes in the UFC 247 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (Feb. 7, 2020) inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.