Dominick Reyes shook his head and appeared to fight back tears as he took in the gravity of a unanimous decision loss to UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
“Man, just f*cking man,” said Reyes after a failed bid for the title in UFC 247’s pay-per-view headliner.
Reyes said he accomplished his goal of making Jones look human, and he was humbled by UFC President Dana White’s assessment earlier in the evening that he is the future of the 205-pound division.
But there was no immediate consolation for the fact that three judges had ruled in favor of the long-running champ. One score, a 49-46 tally for Jones from Texas boxing commission judge Joe Solis, led him to mutter an expletive on the post-fight mic.
“I do feel disrespected,” he told reporters at the post-event press conference for Saturday’s event at Toyota Center. “One of the judges had it 49-46. Like, who are you? I might want to have a word with you.
“Other than that, I know I won that fight. I was in that fight. I don’t have to watch the replay. I was there. I made Jon Jones look like just a man. I brought the fight to him.”
Reyes smiled when asked about how the action unfolded. He was pumped when Jones performed exactly the way he expected in round one. He felt validated that his preparation had paid off without a super gym, and he’d done it against a fighter widely considered the greatest of all time.
Even when Jones repeatedly extended his fingers forward—a foul in the most current version of the Unified Rules—Reyes popped the champ’s gloves to physically remind him that wasn’t OK.
“I feel like I’m the people’s champ,” he said.
In Reyes’ scorebook, the round score was either 3-2 or 4-1 in his favor. He brushed off takedowns late in the fight that didn’t result in extended stays on the canvas and touted strikes that caught Jones by surprise.
No longer does Reyes expect to be underestimated by opponents. After UFC 247, he said, people know he’s a real contender. The question he now faces is whether he’ll ever get another shot at Jones, whom White said limped down the hall at Toyota Center, his legs wrapped in ice after the five-round title fight.
“I definitely would like a rematch,” Reyes said. “I mean, I won. And it was very controversial. It wasn’t like he blew me out of the water and I was cowering in the corner, sitting on my butt (saying), ‘Don’t hurt me.’ No, I was bringing it to him. But I’m going to go home, rest up, go on vacation. Sit down and talk with Dana and figure out my future. No matter what, I showed who I am, and very many people can respect that.”
Not the least of which, the man who still holds the UFC light heavyweight title. After the fight, Reyes said Jones gave him his props.
“At the end of everything, he’s like, ‘Dude, you’re the real deal. I did not expect that from you.’ I’m like, ‘I know. I saw it in your face.’ He said, ‘When we rematch, it’s going to be epic.’”