UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones became notorious for his accidental eye pokes. “Bones” himself said it was something he “does instinctively,” but denies doing it on purpose.
His next challenger Dominick Reyes, however, isn’t willing to let things slide. So much so that he is planning to give a heads-up to whoever the presiding referee would be when they fight at UFC 247.
“It’s something where it is what it is. Not much I can do about it except give the referee an advanced ‘hey man, please look out for this, he’s notorious for this,’” Reyes told MMA Fighting. “It’s going to be hard for me to get in.
“I’m not going to run my face directly into fingers. It is what it is. It’s just another challenge that he presents.”
Jones tends to keep the fingers of his lead hand outstretched to measure distance, a tactic he’d been warned about in previous fights. Reyes is already keeping this in mind.
“I think more than just the fingers being outstretched is that he stays busy with that lead hand,” Reyes said. “I think that’s what keeps guys at bay, he paws with it and he paws exactly at his range. That’s been a gigantic weapon of his. It sets up the rest of his arsenal. It helps him find his range.”
“It’s a blatant rule break. You can’t do it. It’s in the rules,” he added. “It’s been talked about many times. Either you’re going to do it or you’re not going to do it. It’s up to me on fight night to talk to the ref and make him aware.”
“The Devastator” also says he will make sure Jones gets penalized for such actions.
“This is a championship fight. I’ll win however the hell I can,” he said. “You’ve seen “The Waterboy.” It’s the championship game, you can’t hold anything back. There’s no holding back. I’ll take it however I can get it.
“Listen the rule is we’re taking a point away, that’s the rule. If he’s going poke me in the eyes, now I’m compromised, that gives him a huge advantage. If I can’t see, if half my vision’s gone, that’s point worthy.”
UFC 247 takes place on February 8th in Houston, Texas. Co-headlining the card is another title fight between women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and Kaitlyn Chookagian.