Dominick Reyes has earned the respect of Jon Jones, following their nail-biting showdown at UFC 247 this past Saturday.
The 30-year old light heavyweight contender earned his shot at a UFC gold after winning six straight fights since his promotional debut in 2017.
Coming off a first-round knockout of former champion Chris Weidman, Reyes entered the UFC 247 main event title bout as the underdog against a fighter who is regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.
Reyes, though, emerged as the biggest surprise of the Houston fight card as he pushed Jones to his limits in a cardiac five-round battle.
However, his efforts were not enough to dethrone the reigning champ as the UFC judges all sided with Jones for a unanimous decision win (48-47, 48-47, 49-46), much to the disappointment of the Toyota Center crowd and some fans online.
Following his controversial loss, Reyes said he was disappointed with the outcome as his all-out performance went all for naught.
“Disappointment, first of all,” he said in the post-fight interview.
“I am proud of myself, though. I went out there and fought with all my heart.”
“A goal for this fight was to make it an ESPN Instant Classic and I feel like I accomplished that today.”
With one judge submitting a 49-46 scorecard, ‘The Devastator’ said it was a show of disrespect to his skills.
“Man … man. I do feel disrespected. One of the judges had it 49-46. Who are you? I might want to have a word with you.”
“But other than that, man, I know I won that fight. 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 and man … just f—ing, man.”
While it was a painful defeat for the challenger, Reyes considers it as a form of validation, declaring himself as the ‘people’s champion.
“For me, this is huge validation.”
“This is my very first time going five rounds in my entire career … against Jon Jones, who is arguably the greatest of all time, and I put it on him.”
“I took it to him. I feel like I’m the people’s champ.”
If given a chance, the California native will fight Jones in an immediate rematch.
Reyes also shared the defending champion called him the ‘real deal’ moments after the result was announced.
“I’d like to fight him again.”
“At the very end of everything, he was 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.’”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes)