For many, Jon Jones is the greatest fighter of all-time. He became the youngest UFC champion when he defeated Shogun Rua and has never lost his belt inside the Octagon. But, he has been stripped of his title in the past due to legal issues and USADA violations.
Since returning at UFC 232 to reclaim his light heavyweight title, Jones has been active. He has defended his belt against Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes. Yet, in his last two fights, he narrowly won both fights, as he edged out split decisions. Many have said it is only a matter of time until “Bones” loses at light heavyweight. So, who has the best chance of being the one to finally beat Jon Jones?
Light heavyweight has recently become a much deeper division as Jones has new challengers like Jan Blachowicz and could rematch Reyes and Santos. But, as evident by his last fight, it is clear Reyes has the best chance to end Jones’ reign.
Reyes used his size and striking to piece up Jones in the early rounds. He also had success stuffing the takedowns and getting back up when he was taken down. Many fans, fighters, and media alike all thought Reyes won three rounds to two as he took Jones’ best shots and kept moving forward.
Although it seems likely Jones will take on Jan Blachowicz next, a rematch against Dominick Reyes poses a lot of problems for the light heavyweight champion.
Despite Jones being better in rematches, as evident by the Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier rematches, Reyes also has taken major strides in every fight. He seems to be a better fighter every time and now that he spent 25 minutes inside the Octagon with one of the greats it is likely he learned new techniques that can lead to him having success.
One knock on Reyes is he gets hit a lot as his striking defense is just 49 percent. But, he will take a shot to give one as he has legit one-punch knockout power. He lands an impressive 4.88 significant strikes per minute while only getting hit an average of three times per minute. He also has an impressive knockdown ratio of 0.94.
Where he can also have success is the fact his grappling is improving. He has a takedown defense rate of 82 percent and proved he can use his strength and technique to get back up.
Reyes also proved he has the cardio to go five hard rounds. So, in a rematch, it seems likely he will not ease up in the championship rounds. In the first fight, he thought he won the first three rounds which cost him the scrap. If he continues to bring the pressure for five rounds and not let Jones get going, he can have a ton of success.
Ultimately, Dominick Reyes has the best chance to end Jon Jones’ reign at light heavyweight.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/21/2020.