The last time we saw Jon Jones compete it was all the way back at UFC 247 in February 2020. That night he defended his UFC light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Dominick Reyes.
The fight was an extremely close affair and much of the media scores on the night did not agree with the three cage-side officials. MMA decisions shows that seven media members scored the fight 48-47 for Jones (including our own Mookie Alexander) and fourteen media members had it 48-47 for Reyes (including our own Dayne Fox).
Official stats show that Reyes landed a dozen more total strikes and significant strikes than Jones throughout the contest. However, Jones’ accuracy was 20% better than Reyes in both categories. Jones went 2-9 on takedown attempts, too, while Reyes did not attempt to take the fight to the ground.
After the fight Jones announced he was vacating his title and moving up to the heavyweight division. Reyes then fought Jan Blachowicz for the vacant title, but lost via TKO. He then lost by TKO to recently crowned champ Jiri Prochazka.
Reyes appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week to discuss his fight with Jones. He told the veteran reporter that, to this day, he thinks he won that fight.
“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,” he said (ht MMA Fighting).
“I don’t think about it often, but I think about it every once in a while,” he continued. “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 all be different. It could all be so different right now. I did win that fight with Jon, but if I did get the nod — or however you want to say it — and I’m the champ, who knows? Maybe I don’t fight Jan, maybe I fight someone else. It all could be so different.
“It is what it is. 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. It’s a real f’d up situation, man. Some would say it was a fork in the road for my life. Everything would’ve changed that night if the judges would’ve done the right thing.”
With Helwani, Reyes claimed that he and Jones were close to agreeing to an immediate rematch, but then things changed.
“That was the whole thing, we were going to run it back,” Reyes said. “Then the whole pandemic started, I don’t know what he started doing at home, he started to feel a certain kind of way, and then it was, ‘I’m going to heavyweight, screw that. There’s too much risk, I don’t get paid enough to fight him. I’m not going to fight him again without double. 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. It was weird how it happened — he was down, it was going to happen, Dana was like, ‘We’re going to do it,’ then all of a sudden, ‘Nope, I’m going to heavyweight.’ As soon as he said he was going to heavyweight they said, ‘You have to fight Jan for the interim title.’ Cool, let’s do it, I’m going to win, yes, let’s go. I was ready to go, but deep down in my heart I wasn’t. That wasn’t the fight I wanted.”
Prior to his most recent losses, Reyes was 12-0 in his pro career. He joined the UFC in 2017 and holds notable wins over former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, former light heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir and current middleweight title challenger Jared Cannonier.
Reyes said that his career to date represent his “first go-around” with the UFC and that he wants to start fresh as he looks for his next opportunity in the Octagon.
“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.”