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Dominick Reyes intrigued by Jan Blachowicz matchup, future of light heavyweight division

Whoever Dominick Reyes fights next, he’s excited about the possibilities.

Though he was unsuccessful in his bid to dethrone UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 247, the 30-year-old’s stock has never been higher. Reyes went five competitive rounds with Jones before dropping a unanimous decision that some in the media and public felt could have gone the other way.

It was the first loss of Reyes’ career after going 12-0 to start his pro career with a 6-0 record in the UFC. He remains in position for a future rematch but with Jones recently making headlines for the wrong reasons following another brush with the law and the UFC’s matchmaking schedule hindered by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, it’s unclear if they’ll be paired up again anytime soon.

Jones hinted that he’s eyeing a fresh matchup with Jan Blachowicz, which would seemingly leave Reyes in the lurch. However, asked for his thoughts on Blachowicz during an appearance on the What the Heck show, Reyes praised him and stated his own interest in facing Blachowicz, possibly for an interim title.

“I think he’s a fantastic fighter,” Reyes said. “I think he’s one of the most technical guys in the division. I think he has some really good power. I think he’s just a technical beast and he has a lot of experience to where he’s wise with his technical ability. I’ve been wanting to fight Jan since I beat Jared Cannonier.

“I don’t know if you guys know or remember, I called him out right after the fight. This is a guy I’ve been wanting to fight for a minute, so if there’s an interim then yeah, hell yeah, let’s do it. But I think we’re gonna get that rematch first.”

Reyes was amenable to a suggestion that he and Blachowicz meet in the summer, should nothing develop on the Jones front for either fighter. He wasn’t particularly bothered by Jones dismissing him on social media and found great amusement in Blachowicz’s cheeky response to Jones’s call-out.

“Can’t wait to fist you,” Blachowicz wrote, later clarifying what he meant by the bawdy-sounding remark.

“I don’t even think he intended it to be the Tweet of the Year, I don’t even know,” Reyes said with a laugh. “There was quite a lot of good tweets, that was good, I respect that, Jan, I respect that.”

In the event that Blachowicz is booked as Jones’s next challenger, that leaves Reyes either having to wait for the winner of that bout or to fight another contender to earn a second title opportunity. He expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of taking on another tough opponent, whether it be a veteran like Corey Anderson or Thiago Santos, or fresher UFC names like Aleksandar Rakic and Jiri Prochazka.

“I freakin’ love it,” Reyes said of the state of the light heavyweight division. “When I first got in the UFC, I was just always talking about trying to revive the division, being the new face of 205. We’ve got guys coming up, but I’m just the leader of the class. And that’s exactly what’s happening. The division is gonna be exciting as long as I’m in the division. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. There’s a lot of great matchups out there for me. The list is so long now, it’s so exciting. I’ll just throw out a couple of names of guys that I respect in the division that I think I’ll fight in the future.

“So we’ve got Aleksander Rakic, we’ve got [Ion] Cutelaba, we’ve got [Prochazka], but we’ve got to see how how he fights. Corey Anderson, Johnny Walker, Jan, Thiago, this is gonna be great. This is gonna be a fun next seven or eight years.”

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