Dominick Reyes Eyeing Blachowicz for his 1st UFC Main Event | Gives Prediction on Jones/Gustafsson
Dominick Reyes, undefeated light-heavyweight and surging new contender in the UFC is coming fresh off of a win over perennial top ten fighter in Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 229. The win showcased what is arguably the brightest young prospect the UFC has had in years in a bone-dry light-heavyweight division. The win propelled Reyes to number six in the division and sets him up for what could be his first Main Event fight inside of the octagon. In an exclusive interview with MMA-Today, Reyes dishes on who he may be eyeing for his next fight among many other topics:
Dominick, last time we spoke you were coming fresh off of the win over Jared Cannonier. Fast forward about five months and now you’ve been showcased on arguably the biggest UFC event of all time, putting on an absolute clinic against a perennial top ten fighter in Ovince Saint Preux. What do you think this win means for you and what does it do for your career going forward?
I think this win means that I’m legit. I’m for real. Everybody saw that and it puts me in the top ten. I’m number six now and I intend on being in the top ten for the rest of my career if not at the very top. It opened a lot of eyes and put me ‘on the map’.
Can you walk me through the win over ‘OSP’? You were dominant throughout, you didn’t get that KO as I’m sure you wanted to though. Was that frustrating for you or were you happy to be able to showcase a more well rounded skill set over a full three rounds?
I was happy with how the fight went. I felt like I got the finish at the end anyway so that was sort of the cherry on top. But yeah, it was good to be in there for three rounds, feel the adrenaline dump, and really have to dig deep a little bit to stay sharp and pull off the victory.
Do you feel that your performance against ‘OSP’ sort of validated you as a true contender in the light-heavyweight division and have you noticed a bigger push from the fans following a showcase match up on such a large scale event?
Oh yeah, absolutely. OSP is a hell of a competitor. He’s been a staple in the division for such a long time. To go out there and put on the kind of performance I did against a guy like him is impressive to myself, even. I’m super happy with it and yeah I’d say it was sort of my coming out party and I can’t wait for the next one. Fan support has been tremendous. It’s been awesome. They’re so supportive and they recognize me as the next one and I really appreciate the love.
Post fight you made it known that you’re interested in a fight with Jan Blachowicz next. Why Jan? What makes him the next big test for you? Other than Jan, is there anyone else you’re interested in fighting or is that the main guy that you’re zeroing in on?
Jan is definitely the guy I’m zeroing in on right now. I just feel like he’s a good fighter, man. We matchup well. He’s very technical and he’s got good grappling. He’s got good takedown setups, good takedown defense, he’s got sharp, crisp striking. I want to be tested against a guy like this. A guy who’s a real professional on top of all of that. So yeah, I think Jan would be a great matchup for me to test my skills even further and continue to develop and grow and become a champion.
If Jan is indeed next for you, what sort of timetable are you looking at to make that return to the octagon? Also, would you like to see that fight tabbed as a Main Event next? Given your streak and being that you’re one of the only promising up and coming light-heavyweights on the roster I’d have to assume so.
Yeah, I don’t think late 2018 is feasible right now considering I just fought but early 2019 sounds about right. And yes I’d absolutely love to get that Main Event slot. I need to get that Main Event practice with those championship rounds. If it doesn’t go that far then hell yeah, but I still feel like I need to get there so that when I get to that title shot, the bright lights and the length of time isn’t a shock to my system. If your body does it once, you can do it a bunch of times.
Do you think a win over another ranked light-heavyweight lands you a title shot or does the murky landscape of the division, given Daniel Cormier fighting at heavyweight and the return of Jon Jones sort of delay that?
We’ll see how it goes. It’s all based on performance. If I go out and just destroy whoever I fight next, I don’t really think its going to be up to me whether I’m ready or not. I can’t turn down that sort of opportunity. It all depends on performance but I’m thinking one or two more. Three at the most. But one or two would be ideal and then the title. Maybe mid-next year around summer time.
As I’m sure you know, the return of former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones was recently announced and he’s slated to take on Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December. What do you make of his return and what is your prediction for his fight with Gustafsson? Who would you prefer to fight between the two?
First off, congrats to Jon. He won that thing out and now he’s back. Good for him. As far as the fight goes, I’m gonna have to go with Gus to win. He’s been more active. Not very active, but a little more active than Jon. Jon is coming off of a lot of turmoil in his life. That’s going to affect you whether you acknowledge that it does or not. But we’ll see. We’ll see how he handles it but I’m picking Gustafsson. As far as who I’d like to fight? I want to fight Jon. Speaking legacy wise. He’s Jon Jones. You beat him and you’re in a whole other class. That would be ideal. I do think we’ll fight eventually.
What is your opinion on Daniel Cormier’s current situation? He’s sort of flip-flopping between heavyweight and light-heavyweight and currently scheduled to fight Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in November. He’s been non-committal on whether he’s going to go back down to light-heavyweight to defend that title. What do you make of all of this?
I don’t even know if he wants to fight anymore man. I think he just wants to make money, I don’t think it’s about fighting anymore for him. I think he’s trying to get paid, get that retirement and get out. Why else would you take a Derrick Lewis fight? Why else would you want to fight Brock Lesnar? It just isn’t real. Derrick Lewis is a real fighter for sure, but Brock? I’ve got way more respect for him fighting Lewis then Brock Lesnar, that’s for sure. But, Derrick didn’t look very good in his last fight. He finished the fight but his cardio didn’t look good, etc. I respect the guy but c’mon man. I don’t know what DC cares about. I don’t know his motivation. I know family comes first and you’ve got to make sure you support them. He’s setting all that up I think and doesn’t care about much else in my opinion.
I thought Curtis (Blaydes) was the next guy up. I work with Curtis a lot and his hands are getting better and better every day. When he fights, he’s dominant. It isn’t a last ditch effort come from behind KO win. He should be fighting for the title because he looks good every time he steps in there.
I do think he wants to avenge that Jon loss, but I think he’s scared of it at the same time. It seems like he’s struggling with the question of, “Do I want to retire on top or do I want to fight Jon again, potentially lose, and then retire?” I think he’s thinking more along the lines of “Get in, get rich, get out.”