Before chaos erupted at UFC 229, fans were treated to a number of exciting fights featuring athletes who could be competing for titles in the near future. One of the fighters who singled themselves out as someone to be reckoned with, was Dominick Reyes.
Reyes defeated former interim title challenger Ovince Saint Preux by decision. The contest, which stretched Reyes’ undefeated record to 9-0, never looked in doubt for the relative UFC newcomer. He bossed Saint Preux from the first bell and dropped him just before the final buzzer.
Reyes was asked at the UFC 229 post-fight press conference if he ‘saw anything interesting’ at the T-Mobile Arena; where Khabib Nurmagomedov — fresh from dominating Conor McGregor — dove into the crowd to fight Dillon Danis. However, Reyes didn’t seem to want to bring up the controversial brawl. Instead he answered: “Yeah, I saw OSP fall.”
“Overall I felt it was a great performance by myself,” said Reyes when eventually asked about his victory. “I went out there, I started quickly, I almost got the finish, but I’m not going to rush it. He’s a very dangerous guy, very tough. I’ve seen him come back from that before. So I didn’t want to rush into it and do something stupid. I settled in and then in the third, I caught him and dropped him.”
Reyes admitted slowing down as the fight wore on, but defended his choice to do so. “I’ve never been past the first round in the UFC, that was a new experience for me. It was against a veteran, he was pushing the pace there a bit, but I had to slow it down. ... I work really hard so I can push the pace the entire time, but when that adrenaline’s going and you’re actually there, you’ve got to pace yourself a little bit.”
The win over the currently 7th ranked Saint Preux will almost certainly propel Reyes into the top ten of the UFC light heavyweight rankings. The victory will also create buzz around the undefeated fighter and his chances of becoming a champion at 205 lbs.
“With that kind of performance it’s hard to say that I’m not an upcoming star in this division,” said Reyes who then suggested he should fight the third ranked Jan Blachowicz next time out. “I guess it makes sense to call out a guy who is 4-0, on a four fight win streak, I’m on a four fight winning streak, so let’s do it.”
After talking about his performance the rising star did share his opinion on the already infamous brawl involving the camps of Nurmagomedov and McGregor. Specifically he was questioned over whether the event’s security were effective in handling the situation.
“It’s really hard to prepare for that even if you have a ton of security around,” said Reyes. “That’s like one of those, you blink, and now all hell broke loose. So I’m not going to blame it on security. I’m going to blame it on the guys involved.”
Reyes was them asked if he thought the brawl could damage the reputation of professional MMA. “I know that it’s more of a blemish on the guys involved, than the sport as a whole,” he said. “Because in the sport as a whole you have performances like mine tonight. ... A lot of great things happened tonight. Even though that happened, that’s on the guys that did it, not on the organization itself.”