Dominick Reyes came riding into his main event matchup with Chris Weidman on Friday night on a tsunami of hype, and he more than lived up to it.
Reyes moved his pro ledger to 12-0 by scoring his seventh knockout. He smashed the former UFC middleweight champion’s equilibrium with a wicked counter left down the middle, sending Weidman crashing onto his back. The punch connected a little more than a minute into their fight, and it didn’t take long from there for “The Devastator” to fully live up to his nickname.
Weidman (14-5) spun on his back, trying to both avoid the incoming missiles and secure a leg for a possible takedown. Reyes was having none of it and he whacked “The All American” with a lethal dose of hammerfists. Weidman’s body went limp and before Reyes could inflict further punishment, veteran referee Herb Dean intervened.
The end came at 1:43 of the first, giving Reyes his biggest career win to date. The Cage Combat Academy star has toppled high-level contenders Volkan Oezdemir, Ovince St. Preux and Jared Cannonier and has crushed everybody else before them. The next logical step is a shot at current champion Jon Jones, who seemingly has no equal. But if anyone asks the Californian about his chances against “Bones,” he’s more than confident.
“I’ve got these hands,” Reyes said to the assembled media at the post-fight press conference following UFC on ESPN 6. “People don’t got hands like I’ve got. I’ve got precision lasers. I’m not arching and throwing all this crazy stuff. I can fire like that and knock you out. I’m bringing all that. I’m bringing pressures. I can go forward and backward.”
But many fighters before Reyes have said similar things about their skillset and what weapons they have to deal with Jones. All have failed, miserably. No man is unbeatable but Jones is as close as one can be in MMA as he has only struggled with one fighter – Alexander Gustafsson – but Jones clobbered him in the rematch. Reyes, however, thinks he has something that all the others don’t.
“I got heart, man,” he said. “I’m not stopping. I’m not stopping unless he puts me out. That’s the only way I’m leaving that Octagon if he’s not victorious. He’s going to have put me out.”
Whether Reyes has done enough to warrant a title shot his next time out remains to be seen. For his part, Jones offered a succinct response to Reyes on Twitter.