Dominick Reyes tries not to think about the controversial decision that went against him over two years ago in what was seemingly the final fight of Jon Jones’ light heavyweight career.
Reyes, the fighter who most recently faced Jones inside the octagon, gave the now-former chaamp a big scare in the main event of UFC 247 in February 2020. Most believed the now 32-year-old became the first fighter to legitimately defeat Jones after those 25 minutes in Houston. The judges who scored the fight were however in the minority.
“Absolutely, I feel the same, I was there and so was everyone else in the arena, and anyone who has any kind of a mind about fighting knows I won that fight,” Reyes said on The MMA Hour.
Since that night, Reyes has suffered back-to-back knockout losses: Jan Blachowicz in his second opportunity to became champion at UFC 253; and now-champion Jiri Prochazka in brutal fashion at UFC Vegas 25 in May 2021.
No matter how much he tries to not think about such a pivotal moment in his life and career, Reyes can’t completely block it out. He couldn’t.
” I don’t think too much about it, but it is something that comes up every now and then,” he stated. “In this situation, for instance, right now, the current champ is a guy I lost to, the former champ is a guy I lost to, the former former champ is a guy I lost to. With the way things are ending up, I think about it.
” It could be so much more. You never know what it could be. Jon won the fight, and although I was victorious, it’s possible that Jon got the nod or I could be the champion. Perhaps I’ll fight Jan. It all could be so different.
“I should be in a completely different situation right now,” Reyes continues. It is what it has become. I’ve made my decisions, I’ve done what I’ve done, I’m here now, and luckily, I’m still alive, I still have another chance at it, and I’m excited about it.
“But it was still eating me up in the Jan fight. This is a very difficult situation. It was an abrupt turn in my life. Everything would’ve changed that night if the judges would’ve done the right thing.”
A month after the Jones fight, the world completely changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down everything for a time. Reyes felt his momentum stalled while the UFC continued to put on events in empty venues. He didn’t get to meet the Jones fans, who believed that he was the victor.
Additionally, Reyes said the UFC was planning on putting together a rematch between Jones and Reyes before Jones decided to make a career-altering weight class jump and vacate the 205-pound title.
“That was it, we were going back to it,” Reyes stated. The pandemic began, but I’m not sure what he did at home. He started feeling a certain way and decided to go heavyweight. It’s too risky, and I’m not getting enough money to fight him. He’s not worth twice the amount I paid. You have to pay me double to fight that guy again.’
“What? I was getting contender money, I should be getting pay-per-view [points] this next fight. The way it worked was bizarre. Dana said that he would fight Dana for the interim title. I was ready to go, but deep down in my heart I wasn’t. That wasn’t the fight I wanted.”
With a really difficult three-fight stretch in the rear-view mirror, Reyes is hopeful to return to the octagon this fall. The No. 9 ranked light heavyweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings will be armed with his physical skills. Perhaps more important, his new perspective on the sport and himself has helped him to see things differently.
” This was my first fight, and my first in the UFC,” Reyes stated. “I made it to the top, I did my thing, got another shot, and it didn’t work out. Now I get another chance at it and I’m going to do it right this time. I’m going to get the title this time.”