UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones puts his title on the line one again when he battles Dominick Reyes on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 247 at Houston’s Toyota Center.
Jones continues to be one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history, while Reyes is an undefeated – but relatively unheralded – challenger.
Jones Sees No Challenge from Latest Opponent
While Jones (25-1) has had his share of legal issues, positive drug tests, and other controversies, few have disputed his place among the all-time greats of mixed martial arts. Since reclaiming the light heavyweight title in a third-round knockout of Alexander Gustafsson in 2018, he has defended it twice: once in a unanimous decision over Anthony Smith, and more recently, in a split decision victory in July over Thiago Santos.
That last result might suggest that the 32-year-old Jones has lost a step. But the champion remains as confident as ever, and has no doubt that he has more than enough to turn away a challenge from Reyes.
“Honestly, at this point before the fight, nothing,” Jones told reporters when asked about the challenges he thinks Reyes presents. “Even on the mental level, he just doesn’t feel equipped. I know the mental aspect is only one side of it, but it’s something I take seriously, and this dude doesn’t seem very strong between the ears, honestly.”
Reyes is Next Man Up in Light Heavyweight Division
Reyes (12-0) has built a resume worthy of challenging for the light heavyweight title. The 30-year-old has won six UFC bouts since joining the promotion in 2017, most recently finishing Chris Weidman in under two minutes to secure his title shot. Reyes may only hold the No. 4 contender ranking in the division, but with Jones having dispatched most other challengers, that emphatic win made him the next man up.
Reyes says that Jones’ trash talk isn’t bothering him. In fact, he says that the champ seems just a little too obsessed with him.
“I’m his favorite fighter. He spends all his time on my social,” Reyes told MMA Junkie. “The funny thing is, he thinks he knows me as a human being. He thinks he knows me as a person … you think you know me, but you don’t.”
Reyes enters the fight as a decided underdog. DraftKings Sportsbook sees Jones as a prohibitive -455 favorite, while offering +340 on the challenger.
UFC 247 Odds (Main Card)
- Jon Jones (-455) vs. Dominick Reyes (+340)
- Valentina Shevchenko (-1250) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (+725)
- Juan Adams (-250) vs. Justin Tafa (+195)
- Mirsad Bektic (-137) vs. Dan Ige (+110)
- Derrick Lewis (-250) vs. Ilir Latifi (+195)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
If Reyes can keep the fight on its feet and turn it into a striking contest, he’ll have a genuine chance to pull off an upset. Jones rarely has trouble getting inside when he wants to, though, and shouldn’t have trouble absorbing some punishment in order to use his superior wrestling skills. Even if Jones decides against that route, he’ll have five rounds to be patient and look for his moments to apply pressure and win the fight.
Nobody thinks a fight against Jones will ever be easy, and Reyes is no exception. But he says that he’ll leave everything he has inside the Octagon on Saturday.
“I’m going to go out there and fight with no regrets,” Reyes said. “I’m not giving anything away. Everything has to be taken, and that’s how we’re fighting this fight. And he’s not going to give me anything, either, so I’m going to have to take it.”