Dominick Reyes wants to be one to dethrone Jon Jones, offers keys to beating UFC champ

Dominick Reyes has been training to fight Jon Jones since he got his start in MMA. That’s why he hopes “Bones” is still holding UFC gold when his chance finally comes to challenge for the title.

Reyes (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is an unbeaten light heavyweight contender who has quickly made a name for himself in just over two years on the UFC roster. He’s currently booked for the biggest fight of his career against Volkan Oezdemir (15-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 5 in March, and if he can win that, “The Devastator” thinks he’ll be at the forefront of the title discussion.

It’s likely reigning 205-pound champ Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) will have at least a couple fights before that happens, though, and Reyes hopes he’s able to keep the belt around his waist.

“I would love to be the guy to dethrone Jones,” Reyes told MMAjunkie Radio. “It matters. That’s been the plan all along. I’ve kind of always wanted to fight Jones. I started fighting in 2012 and look at that – Jones was the guy then. So I’ve kind of been training for him the entire time.”

Jones, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, is currently scheduled to put his belt on the line against No. 10-ranked Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2. That’s just two weeks prior to No. 9-ranked Reyes’ matchup with No. 5-ranked Oezdemir at UFC on ESPN+ 5, which goes March 16 at The O2 in London and streams on ESPN+.

Reyes, 29, believes “Lionheart” presents a legitimate threat to Jones, 31, in the upcoming title fight.

“I want Jones to win, but I think Smith can catch him,” Reyes said. “Smith is a tough competitor. He throws those hands. If he goes out there and throws caution to wind, he might get him.”

If Smith can pull off the upset against Jones, the landscape of the light heavyweight division would be radically altered. Reyes hopes that’s not the case, though, because he wants Jones to continue building his legacy as an all-time great until his opportunity to fight him arrives.

Should Reyes’ dream scenario come to fruition, he said he already knows what he needs to do in order to give Jones his first legitimate MMA loss. And he doesn’t mind sharing some insight into his approach, either.

“When you fight Jones you’ve got to look at this: He’s got master strategists in his corner, he always follows the game plan,” Reyes said. “You need to understand, how will you beat yourself? Then you need to adapt, just like he adapts, mid-fight. You kind of have to go, ‘F the Jon Jones lore.’ You’ve got to forget that.

“He’s just a man. Fight him. Don’t be scared of him. Those things you need to beat Jones. I’m going to beat Jones if nobody else does.”

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 5, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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