Ahead of UFC 247 this weekend, Reyes told UFC Countdown that the reigning light heavyweight champion has “fought wrestlers, he’s fought strikers but never athletes.”
Jones mocked that statement in a series of messages on Twitter but he continued to question Reyes’ logic during the media conference call ahead of their clash on Saturday night.
When asked to explain what he meant by that initial statement, Reyes explained that he was speaking more towards the skills obtained while playing traditional sports and then putting those weapons to use when transitioning into mixed martial arts.
“I was speaking on being a traditional athlete,” Reyes said. “Playing baseball, playing football, basketball, track and field. Those sports, they’re different than just being martial artists like just wrestling or karate or whatever you’re doing.
“It requires a different amount of athleticism and focus. It’s just different. There’s really nothing to be said on that. If you don’t really understand it, then you don’t understand it. That’s all there is to it.”
Jones quickly fired back because he absolutely did not comprehend.
“I definitely don’t understand it,” Jones said to Reyes on the call. [Daniel Cormier has] been wrestling since he was a little boy. Lyoto [Machida] with karate since he was a little boy. I’ve been wrestling since I was a little boy.
“Dominick doesn’t know what the 20 some odd guys that I’ve beat, what they grew up doing. So to assume because you play a sport or you played sports growing up that no one else has?”
The back-and-forth ended with Reyes further clarifying his comments as to why he believes an athlete coming from sports such as baseball or football carry a different set of skills into the cage than a fighter who is just a mixed martial artist by trade.
“It’s not just playing sports,” Reyes explained. “It’s getting to a very high level of athletics. It’s learning the intricacies of movement. It’s really studying film before you actually study film. Guys don’t usually study film until they get into the UFC and they don’t really understand what it is.
“There’s so many intricacies of being a high-level athlete that most people don’t understand. That’s what I’m saying.”
The main event fighters will obviously agree to disagree but Reyes will do his best to prove the point when he faces Jones on Saturday night in Houston.