UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has revealed that he would would have no problem with once again defending his title against Dominick Reyes following their controversial main event bout at UFC 247 – but insisted that it is down to president Dana White to make the fight a reality.
Jones (26-1-1) successfully retained his championship by unanimous decision in Saturday’s headline attraction – a result that many observers took issue with.
Challenger Reyes (12-1) managed to drop Jones to the mat in the opening round of the contest and was seen by most fans to have done enough to take both of the first two rounds of the fight. The third round was a closer affair, but it would not have been unreasonable to score that for Reyes either.
Admittedly, Jones had a much better fourth round, but despite this, many still had Reyes leading by three rounds to one going into the final round. Among those to share this scorecard was Dana White himself.
To his credit, Jones finished the fight strongly and took the final round on the scorecards of all three ringside judges. However, much of the MMA world was shocked when Jones was awarded the victory via two 48-47 scorecards and one particularly galling 49-46 verdict.
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Reyes suffered his first career defeat as a result of the hotly-debated scorecards and was quick to make his own case for a rematch at the post-fight press conference. Jones, 32, quickly confirmed his openness to a second instalment for the assembled media, but warned that he does not have the power to make the fight on his own.
“It’s my job to embrace the toughest challenges…That’s what a champion is being about.
“I fought Daniel Cormier twice, I had no problem signing the contract. I fought Alexander Gustafsson twice and had no problem signing the contract.
“If the people want to see me fight Dominick again, it’s going to be up to Dana White to find a way to make that happen.”
It is hard to deny that Reyes is deserving of a second crack at Jones and fans will be pleased to hear that “Bones” is seemingly up for the challenge. However, we have been here before with the 205-lb champion.
Twice across his two light heavyweight title reigns has Jones been the beneficiary of questionable judging decisions in championship fights. Once against Alexander Gustafsson in September 2013 at UFC 165, and again when facing Thiago Santos last July at UFC 239.
On both occasions there was significant clamour for an immediate rematch, but in neither instance did a second fight happen straightaway. Indeed, in the case of Santos, his claim to another shot at Jones seems to have been quickly forgotten.
Not once in his entire 28-fight MMA career has Jones ever fought the same opponent in consecutive fights and even Dana White refused to absolutely guarantee Reyes a rematch during his post-fight media engagements.
Given the pre-fight whispers of a move up to the heavyweight division for Jones, Reyes will be hoping that he is able to secure an agreement for the return bout soon. It is an opportunity that he certainly earned on Saturday night.