Earlier this month, on the main card of UFC London, top light heavyweight contenders Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir engaged in a razor close, three-round battle.
In the end, Reyes emerged the victor of this fight with a split decision win. Not everybody, however, agreed with the scoring for this bout.
Some fans, and Oezdemir himself, felt the judges got it wrong.
Speaking on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio, Dominick Reyes opened up on this bout, agreeing that it was definitely a close one, but assuring that he did enough to earn the W.
“I mean it was a tough fight,” Reyes said. “Throughout the fight I was avoiding his power. I was touching him from distance, in and out. I wasn’t as active as I would have liked to have been, but I did enough and I got the win. He’s a hell of an opponent.
“He was more hesitant than I anticipated, and he was a little bit quicker than I anticipated and it seems he trimmed down a bit for the fight,” he added. “Which is, you know, awesome for him.
“It was close. I mean with any fight you go into the third it’s close. You gotta come out and try to win the third round no matter what. It was a close fight, from the horn to that point, and it was throw caution to the wind and was go out there and win this fight.”
While Volkan Oezdemir had some success in the early portions of this fight, Dominick Reyes seemed to be gaining more control as the bout wore on. He believes that trend would have continued had they not been confined to three rounds.
“He was slowing down and I was only getting stronger and I was starting to find my openings all over. And I think, had it gone five, I would have finished him.”
In the end, Oezdemir proved to be the toughest opponent of Reyes’ career thus far, and Reyes says he learned quite a bit from the fight.
“It doesn’t always go your way, things aren’t always going exactly to plan, you’re not always feeling 100% on your game, and the flow’s not happening for you,” he said. “But you adapt, you find openings, you make decisions and you go for it.
“He’s the man that pushed me and I had to find that next gear,” he added. “And I thank him for that, and going forward I’m definitely going to be a much better fighter, I mean overall, you know. This was a huge big growing experience for me.”
While this fight wound up being incredibly close, Dominick Reyes says he’s not particularly interested in an immediate rematch. Not yet, at least.
“Not right away,” he said. “I mean I’m moving forward. That fight’s over. I’d fight him again for sure in the future, but we’re just looking ahead at what’s next for us. At this point, I gotta do some healing up and then we’ll see what happens.”
Instead, Reyes is hoping to get one more fight in, and then hopefully contend for the light heavyweight belt. Ideally, he’d like his next fight to be a five-round, main event affair.
“Thiago [Santos] is next [for the title],” he said. “I think I need one more, and I felt like I did need to finish in this fight to be next.
“I would like one more, get in there, take care of the things that I saw in this fight, and go into [a fight with] Jones real confident, man. Like I said, I need a main event before I fight Jones. I’d like to fight five rounds before I fight for the title, you know?”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/25/2019.