The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 247 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
When Jon Jones entered the Octagon to defend his undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes in the UFC 247 main event on Saturday in Houston, he did so as a massive -500 favorite. He was expected by most to retain his championship without much trouble. However, Jones escaped with a unanimous decision in a back-and-forth affair that left many observers believing the gold should have changed hands.
In victory, Jones broke a tie with Georges St. Pierre for the most wins (14) in UFC title fights. His 20 wins inside the light heavyweight division also give him the record for most victories by a fighter in a single weight class.
“It feels good,” Jones told ESPN. “It feels surreal. I think I had a moment a second ago. I shed some tears. I think it really hit me. It’s amazing, man. I get to be up there with some of history’s greats at the end of the day. What a way to get it, too, in a hard-earned victory. I embrace the grind. I embrace the suck. I was just a little tougher than he was.”
Reyes gave Jones all he could handle, especially in the first, second and third rounds. “The Devastator” blasted the Jackson-Wink MMA rep with hard shots and used elusive moment to avoid most of the counterstrikes during the first 15 minutes of their confrontation.
“I didn’t expect him to be as tough as he [was],” Jones said. “Honestly, I thought he was going to give me a much lighter pace. The next time I fight him, I will be much more prepared for a little bit faster pace. He did a great job; he really did. He fought hard. He studied. You can tell he did some homework. He showed me holes in my game. Those holes won’t be there next time.”
Despite the fast start from Reyes, the tide began to turn once the fight hit the championship rounds. “Bones” took over during the final 10 minutes, as the champion picked apart Reyes with strikes and even managed to land a few brief takedowns, leaving little doubt as to who won the last two rounds.
“I thought I won one through three; he was on me four and five,” Reyes said afterward. “He’s a champion, and he got those takedowns at the end, but I popped right back up. I didn’t think they would be a factor. I had him one through three. I was on him. It is what it is. I will get better. I know I will. This just proves I’m the real deal.”
The three cageside judges handed in 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 scorecards, all in Jones’ favor. UFC President called Joe Soliz’s 49-46 score, which awarded Jones four of the five rounds, “insane.” Meanwhile, many fans and media members were not satisfied with the outcome and called for in immediate rematch. Reyes agreed with the sentiment.
“Yeah, I would definitely like a rematch. I mean, I won.,” Reyes said during the post-fight press conference. “It was very controversial. I was bringing it to him.”
Jones also appeared to be a willing participant in a second encounter between the two.
“It’s my job to embrace the toughest challenges,” Jones said. “That is what a champion is being about. I fought [Daniel Cormier] twice. I had no problem signing the contract. I fought Alexander Gustafsson twice. I had no problem signing the contract. If the people want to see me fight Dominick again, it is going to be up to Dana White to find a way to make it happen.”
While White would not fully commit to a rematch next, he was not opposed to the idea.
“I don’t know right here right now if you do an immediate rematch. We’ll see,” he said. “Let these guys heal up [and] put tonight behind them. We will figure out what is next, but Reyes has put himself in a position where, yes, he is [next for Jones].”