With just a few days remaining until Reyes tries to do what no other fighter has accomplished — by handing Jones a legitimate loss — the undefeated light heavyweight contender has done a lot of homework to get ready for this opportunity.
While Jones has been nearly invincible for most of his career, Reyes feels like he maintains one particular skill set that trumps the 205-pound champion.
“It’s no secret that Jon isn’t the best boxer in the UFC,” Reyes said on Wednesday during the UFC 247 athlete panel. “He’s a great kickboxer. He has great range. He uses his kicks very well. But he’s not the best boxer. I intend to exploit that.
“I think my boxing is probably the best in the division. With footwork and fearlessness, I’ll get in there and put these hands on him.”
Reyes also wonders if his left hand — best known as his knockout punch — might become a problem for Jones, who hasn’t a long list of true southpaws during his career.
“We’ll find out on Saturday,” Reyes teased. “I’m a true southpaw. I got this left hand with me right here. We’ll see what happens.”
For his part, Jones didn’t exactly get upset when hearing about Reyes’ criticism but he did take a jab back at the undefeated title challenger while reminding him that their fight is happening in the UFC and not the boxing ring.
“Have you seen his mitt work?” Jones said with a sly smile when asked for a response. “He has a tremendous left hand. I’m sure he’s going to work on his right hand, especially because I’ve brought it up so much. But my job is not to go out there and get into a boxing match.
“My job is to be the better mixed martial arts fighter. Like I said, I’m very aware that his best counters come in boxing combinations and I’m not going to give him what he wants. It’s going to be a mixed martial arts fight.”
Jones obviously believes he’s the better all-around mixed martial artist but he won’t discount Reyes’ ability to pull off the upset because he absolutely possesses the ability to end the fight with one punch.
“He has power,” Jones said about Reyes. “We can’t deny that. I’ve seen him kick people in the head and knock them out. I’ve seen him drop people with that left and you’ve got to respect it. At the end of the day, I could sit in front of you guys and act like I’ve got it all in the bag but at the end of the day, you don’t know what’s going to happen out there. Anything can happen out there.
“So I’ve just got to respect him tremendously, which I have. We’ve done everything possible that we can do to be strong mentally, spiritually, physically for this fight. He’s a worthy opponent.”