At UFC London, which goes down on March 16, surging light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes will face arguably the toughest test of his career in former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.
In Oezdemir, Reyes will face a clever striker with shocking power in both hands. Given his foe’s strengths, Reyes is prepared to ground the fight if need be.
“As always, I’ll go wherever the fight takes me and I’ll win wherever it takes me,” Reyes said on episode 111 of BJPENN Radio. “If an opportunity arises for a take down, I’m not going to be opposed to taking it. I’m a martial artist and I pride myself on being a complete martial artist. I know you guys haven’t seen much of my ground game because my striking is so effective, but it’s there and if the opportunity arises, well you could see me on top of Volkan for five, ten minutes.
In his last two fights, a pair of losses to Daniel Cormier and Anthony Smith, Oezdemir has dealt with some adversity on the mat. Reyes believes the Swiss puncher has probably been working hard to patch up the holes in his ground game.
“Cormier did it, Smith did it, but when you lose a fight, you, you try to shore up your game, your deficiencies,” he said. “I don’t think Volkan is the guy that’s not going to shore up his game.”
While Dominick Reyes will take Volkan Oezdemir down if the opportunity presents itself, he’s more than happy to fight on the feet too. This, after all, is where he feels most comfortable. It’s also where he has the most fun.
“I just love fighting man,” he said. “I like exchanging, I like feeling that danger. I go mountain biking and stuff just to feel those adrenaline rushes of almost dying. I like to push it man. I like when I have adrenaline flowing through my body like that. I feel alive, more than any other time in my life. And I do enjoy making the fans happy.
“As weird as that sounds, and most fighters probably shouldn’t say that, but I do enjoy making the fans happy and putting on a show for ’em. Having them cheer and go crazy and, and talking like ‘Oh my god! Did you see that guy, he’s f***ing crazy. See how fast he is? How is he even at light heavyweight, he’s so fast’. You know, stuff like that.”
The main priority for Dominick Reyes in London, of course, is victory.
“I figure it out as I go, I adapt on the fly and bottom line is I’m gonna win. That’s all I know. That’s really the only thing I know and he’s not going to stop me, no matter what. He’s gonna have to literally knock me out to stop me.
“Otherwise, you’re f***ed.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/7/2019.