EXCLUSIVE | UFC Chile’s Dominick Reyes plans to be a top-10 light heavyweight by year’s end

Dominick Reyes’s MMA career could not be off to a better start. The California-born light heavyweight has won all eight of his professional bouts, including two in the UFC’s Octagon. Only one of those victories has reached the judges’ scorecards.

This May 19, when the UFC makes its debut in beautiful Santiago, Chile, Reyes will look to continue his impressive run, as he takes on dangerous light heavyweight staple Jared Cannonier.

Riding high on a TKO defeat of Joachim Christensen and a submission victory over Jeremy Kimball, Reyes feels this bout with Cannonier represents the perfect matchup at this juncture of his career.

“I feel like it’s perfect at this time in my career,” Reyes said of the matchup on the latest stacked episode of BJ Penn Radio. “It hits the nail right on the head for what I need next in my career. Jared is accomplished, and he’s tough and he’s no slouch, by any means, so. I think it’s perfect, and I’m excited.”

While Reyes believes this matchup will be a great way to test himself, he also believes he’ll find the way to win — and maybe pick up a post-fight bonus in the process.

“It could be a Fight of the Night, maybe Fight of the Year,” he said. “If not, maybe Knockout of the Night or Submission of the Night.”

“I feel like we have similar styles,” he added. “We like to stand and trade. He really loves to stand and trade, You know, that’s kind of his MO. It’s what he does. And he’s made a name for himself in that regard, so I think it’s gonna be a nice challenge to go up against him. I feel like I’m better on the ground. I feel like I’m a more well-rounded martial artist, but you know, he’s evolving at the lab, as am I, so we’ll see, we’ll see how it goes.”

If Dominick Reyes is able to defeat Jared Cannonier, who held the number-15 spot in the light heavyweight rankings when the bout was first announced, he feels he will probably make his own entrance into the divisional rankings. From there, he hopes to works his way into the division’s top-10 by the end of the year.

“I feel like an impressive performance in this fight will put me in the rankings for sure,” He said. “[Then] being ranked myself, a ranked guy would be the next step. Because Jared was in the rankings when I took this fight. He was number fifteen. So he was supposed to be my first ranked opponent. But they dropped him out [of the rankings]. So either way, I’m just going up from here.”

“That’s the goal — top-ten before the end of 2018,” Reyes said. “Finish the year strong, but I gotta take care of Jared first. I’m visualizing just a win, man. Hand raised. That’s all I care about, that’s all that really matters. Hand raised, a finish, that’s my goal always, but you never know with the guy you’re fighting, he might be able to take it all. So we’ll see.”

However his fight with Cannonier ends, Reyes feels it’s a bout that fans would be wise to tune in for.

“May 19th, check it out,” he said. “It’s gonna be a banger. You guys aren’t going to want to miss it. We’re the biggest guys on the card. We throw the most leather.”

Do you think Dominick Reyes will be a top-10 light heavyweight by the end of the year?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/4/2018.