Jon Jones had his back against the wall when he faced Dominick Reyes this past Saturday in the main event of UFC 247 in Houston.
What many anticipated as a walk in the park for the light heavyweight champion turned into one of the toughest fights of his career as the challenger came out with all guns blazing.
Reyes, who was coming off an emphatic six-fight winning streak, went on to dominate the first three rounds before Jones turned the tables in the final two frames.
After a cardiac five-round battle, it was the Jackson Wink fighter who emerged victorious as cageside judges scored 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 all in favour of Jones.
While many fans did not welcome the result, Jones said he fought hard to earn the win and it was enough to put him on the list of the greatest American athletes in the history.
Since reclaiming the 205-pound throne in December 2018, the pound-for-pound king has shown vulnerability on his recent title-defences.
Prior to UFC 247, Jones eked out a unanimous decision against Anthony Smith before escaping with a narrow split decision win over Thiago Santos.
Asked if his title fight with Reyes was the most difficult test on his career, the defending champ said it was still Alexander Gustafsson who gave him the biggest problem inside the Octagon.
“I think the first Gustafsson fight, honestly,” Jones told Aaron Bronsteter.
“Just based on – well it’s hard to base it on anything, I haven’t seen the fight yet.”
“But I would say the first Gustafsson fight was a little bit tougher.”
“I knew it was close, but I knew my takedowns had to count form something,” Jones said of his fight with Reyes.
“Takedowns, we know, aren’t always the most exciting thing, but they’re big points in MMA. And at one point I had his back with a hook in.”
“I took him down to his butt on more than one occasion. At least two or three times, the fifth round was so one-sided.”
“I feel good about the win, I just can’t wait to see it.”
Tough As Nails
Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White has commended the UFC 247 main event stars for treating fans to an instant classic and said Reyes deserves an immediate rematch with Jones.
“Do I think he deserves the rematch? Sure, he does,” White told the media (via MMA Fighting).
“But we’ll see what happens. … Here’s the other thing. Say what you want about Jon Jones — Jon Jones wins fights.”
“It’s not like there’s this landslide. I’ve been hearing this all night. ‘Jon Jones won the fight, it was a draw, Reyes won the fight.’ It’s all over the map.”
“It all depends on the way you judge a fight and it doesn’t f*cking matter — we’re not judges. One thing I do know — both of these guys are tough as nails, man.”
“The shots that both these guys took tonight to the body, legs, head. Phenomenal fight between two phenomenal athletes.”
“Say what you want about Jon Jones — Jon Jones wins fights.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson)