“That could be said about lightweight division,” Dominick Reyes believes he’s only 1 big win away from title shot despite five-year disappointing run

Dominick Reyes remains hopeful of climbing the ranks quickly after first win in five years.

“That could be said about lightweight division,” Dominick Reyes believes he’s only 1 big win away from title shot despite five-year disappointing run

Dominick Reyes believes he has a short path to a title shot (Source: Instagram)

Dominick Reyes came into UFC on ESPN 57 in desperate need of a win. To everyone’s surprise, he got it in minimal rounds, putting him back to winning ways. Reyes defeated Dustin Jacoby in under two minutes, snapping his four-fight losing streak in the process. Jacoby met the former title challenger in the co-main event at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

‘The Devastator’ scored a much-needed win, finishing Jacoby in the opening frame. It’s unlikely just a fifth loss would have incurred him getting handed the exit clause, but his two-year layoff and suffering from DVT didn’t help matters. Later, Dominick Reyes hinted that the next big win could spearhead him to title pictures. Unlike the stacked 155 division, he feels his weight class provides more opportunities.

It’s been a long time coming. I feel amazing. I’m the best light heavyweight in the world. I’ve always been...I guess that could be said about lightweight division cause, it's a little different...But in my division, couple good performances...show them who you are,,,and right back into the conversation. You know, so I never was like, 'I'll never get back to the title.' I know who I am and what I am capable of...
Dominick Reyes via the UFC on ESPN 57 post-fight conference

Reyes had quite a rough going before defeating the light-heavyweight from Team FactoryX Muay Thai. The last spectacular victory was over Chris Weidman in 2019. However, he was once the most stylistic barrage in Jon Jones’ way, pushing him to the limit. He lost a controversial decision to ‘Bones’ at UFC 247, which many thought he won.

This loss kicked off a four-fight losing streak. After fighting Reyes, Jan Blachowicz and Jiri Prochazka have both won the light heavyweight title. As such, Reyes aims to get back to the top where he once belonged. New contenders have risen during Reyes’ absence. A victory over any of them can help Reyes return to the top five and remain one victory away from a title shot.

Dissecting Dominick Reyes’ comments on the light heavyweight division

Resetting the 155-pound division has been a major talking point after UFC 302. Reigning lightweight king Islam Makhachev defeated veteran Dustin Poirier recently. In the aftermath, ‘Diamond’ hinted at thoughts of quitting. The 32-year-old Dagestani, on the other hand, wants double-division glory at 170. Unlike Dominick Reyes’ strong standing in the 205 division, the lightweight does not seem ripe with opportunities.

Reyes was the biggest winner of UFC Louisville. The southpaw can face Khalil Rountree Jr., Johnny Walker, Aleksandar Rakic, Jamahal Hill, and Magomed Ankalaev; all those names spell prominence. Even with any other in the top 15, he can stand for serious opportunities with a stylistic clash. Reyes has also trained with division champ Alex Pereira and Team Teixeira MMA & Fitness.

The light heavyweight lineage is ripe with opportunities
The light heavyweight lineage is ripe with opportunities (Source: agfight.com/X/IMAGO)

The lightweights have seen a logjam lately. Makhachev wishes to move up to welterweight. After losing guard at UFC 280, an injury, and a subsequent loss, even Charles Oliveira does too. Arman Tsarukyan is one-minded for a title shot as long as Makhachev stays. Even without quitting, Poirier won’t indulge in up-and-coming lightweights just for the sake of it. The same goes for Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, Rafael Fiziev, and Mateusz Gamrot.

With how long the undefeated Dagestani held on to undisputed gold, now the strap would just cycle between top names and ranked spots. Meanwhile, coming on from middleweight, ‘Poatan’ has shaken up the tree at 205, jolting everyone’s ambitions. So, Reyes is valid in thinking he has more opportunistic chances as a light heavyweight.

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