Morning Report: Dominick Reyes: Jon Jones ‘is moving to heavyweight because those guys are slow,’ Jones responds

Dominick Reyes and Jon Jones

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Monday, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones vacated his title and teased a potential move up to the heavyweight division. The announcement did not seem to catch the UFC off guard because the very next day Dana White announced that Dominick Reyes would face Jan Blachowicz for the vacant title as the co-main event of UFC 253 in September. But they are about the only ones, including Dominick Reyes, who now finds himself facing Jan Blachowicz on short notice.

“Aw, c’mon man!” Reyes told ESPN when asked his reaction to the announcement. “That was my reaction. Like, c’mon bro. Seriously? That’s whack. But then it was like, alright, whatever. The show must go on. Either way I’m fighting, either way I’m going for the belt. The whole goal was to get the belt anyway. It sucks that I can’t beat Jon for it at this time. But I’ll catch him. I’ll catch him later.”

Reyes and Jones had a hard-fought battle at UFC 247 in February, with Jones taking a unanimous decision that many believe he was lucky to get. Among those include Dana White who scored the bout for Reyes and, until Jones vacated this week, was still adamant that the next fight for Jones needed to be a rematch. Now, it seems that rematch will never happen and though that he was initially surprised by how things shook out, in retrospect, Reyes thinks it makes plenty of sense given how close Jones came to losing his title.

“A little bit,” Reyes said. “It was a little bit shocking. But at the same time, not because I try to look at things from other peoples’ perspectives and what they’ve been through and what leads to whatever decision they make and if you look at it, Jon, I think, truly in his heart felt like he won that fight unanimously and he has nothing else to prove in the division. Either that or he’s like, ‘Hey man, I could really lose my belt to this guy. Let’s avoid that and we’ll just vacate and go up to heavyweight and make a run at the title.’ …

“He’s moving to heavyweight because those guys are slow, you do realize that, right? He can’t keep up with us anymore. After what me and Thiago did to him, he’s like, ‘Man, I need to go up. These guys are getting too fast, they’re getting too athletic, they’re getting too good. The heavyweights are still slow. I can do my thing against them.’ I think he sees that there are better matchups for him at heavyweight than there are at light heavyweight.”

Jones, for his part, is dismissive of this notion. Yesterday Jones posted on Twitter his response to Reyes’ claims about a rematch.

Reyes will not be slapping himself because instead, he has Jan Blachowicz to concern himself with. Blachowicz is on a three-fight win streak in the light heavyweight division and is coming off the best performance of his career, a first-round KO of Corey Anderson, and according to Reyes, “Polish Power” is a more difficult fight for him than a rematch with Jones would have been.

“Jan is a beast by the way,” Reyes said. “I’ve been impressed with Jan for years. I’ve been trying to fight Jan since I beat Cannonier because I respect the guys game. He is a very technical striker, he has more power than Jon. I think he is a more dangerous fight for me to be 100 percent honest. He is a counter-striker with a lot of power and has a BJJ black belt. He is very technical everywhere. Jon doesn’t counter-strike and has no power and is not that technical, he is just tricky.”

If Reyes is able to get past Blachowicz to claim the light heavyweight title, it will be the first time since 2011 that someone other than Jones or Daniel Cormier have held the belt. That’s a huge legacy of dominance in the division and one that will inevitably cast a shadow over the newly crowned champion’s reign. But Reyes isn’t concerned about that. He’s just excited for the opportunity to be champion. And if he gets to rematch Jones down the line? All the better for him.

“At this point, I don’t really give a sh*t about Jon Jones, to be 100 percent honest,” Reyes said. “He’s irrelevant in my life now. So as far as I’m concerned, who? It doesn’t matter anymore. We’ll see what the future holds. Here’s what I’m thinking though: I win this belt, it’s gonna create all kinds of hype. Everybody’s gonna be talking about, ‘You didn’t beat Jon, blah, blah, blah, and Jon’s gonna be like, ‘Yeah. Pay-per-view. Alright,’ and then we’re gonna come together. I’m gonna be the champ, he’s gonna try to get my belt, and I’m gonna smash him. Or not and I’ll never see him again. Either that’s gonna happen or it’s not. Either way I’m still moving along and I’m good.”

UFC 253 takes place on September 26 in a yet to be determined location.


MUST-READ STORIES

135. Juan Archuleta vs. Patchy Mix to crown new Bellator bantamweight champion.

HW. Dana White: Jon Jones can fight for heavyweight title but only after Francis Ngannou

Chasing dreams. Israel Adesanya willing to chase Jon Jones up to heavyweight.

205. Corey Anderson reveals how terrifying health scare ultimately led him to Bellator MMA.

Boxing. Executive working on Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight explains why event was delayed.


VIDEO STEW

UFC virtual media day.

Top finishes of Frankie Edgar.

UFC 253 preview.

Road to Bellator 244.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Discussing Stipe-DC III, the rest of UFC 252, and Edgar vs. Munhoz.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Jon.

Rumor is Tony Ferguson.

Then there’s this.

This is great.

Ouch.

No one wants D-1 Mike Perry.

I have never been more excited for an event. What a promo.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Cat Zingano (10-4) vs. Gabrielle Holloway (6-5); Bellator 245, Sep. 11.

Juan Archuleta (24-2) vs. Patchy Mix (13-0); Bellator 246, Sep. 12.

Carlos Condit (30-13) vs. Court McGee (19-9); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 3.

Rafael dos Anjos (29-13) vs. Islam Makhachev (18-1); UFC 254, Oct. 24.

Anderson Silva (34-10) vs. Uriah Hall (15-9); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 31.

Cortney Casey (9-8) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (9-3); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 31.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Reyes’ interview with Ariel is pretty good. I recommend watching the whole thing if you haven’t.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.

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