Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has decided to vacate his title and take an extended break from mixed martial arts (MMA) after promotion president Dana White failed to cough up the money required for a Francis Ngannou super fight in the 265-pound weight class.
But despite his insistence that UFC screwed him out of millions of dollars, 205-pound contender Dominick Reyes believes this is nothing more than a carefully constructed strategy to avoid a “Devastator” rematch at some point in early summer or late fall, which may explain why “Bones” is now playing light heavyweight matchmaker.
“It was obvious man, that last fight was a dog fight and I took it to him,” Reyes told former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen. “I pushed him to his limits. I pushed him somewhere he’s never been. He’s never been outstruck, he’s never been hurt like that, he’s never had an opponent that wasn’t afraid of him at all. He’s not willing to lose his belt for less than whatever million dollars. He knows that belt is close to being lost, so he’s doing whatever he can to avoid fighting me again.”
Jones and Reyes battled to a five-round decision in the UFC 247 pay-per-view (PPV) main event back in February, one that ended in favor of “Bones.” There was some mild controversy surrounding the judges’ decision and “The Devastator” is convinced that he not only beat Jones, but that he should be given an immediate rematch.
“He’ll go to heavyweight, ‘I’ll take my first loss at heavyweight, are you guys happy now? You saw me get knocked out by Ngannou,’ I think that’s kinda what he’s thinking,” Reyes continued. “Do everything he can to avoid that to keep his legacy, to keep his belt. Possibly go up to heavyweight and maybe beat Francis and now okay now I can make a run at the heavyweight title.”
As of this writing, the promotion has yet to make a decision on the future of the light heavyweight title, but White — who once called Jones an “unfixable party animal” — believes he’ll (eventually) work out his differences with “Bones.”