Dustin Jacoby: Win over Dominick Reyes Would be ‘Huge’

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Dustin Jacoby (19-8-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC) is looking to return to the win column at the expense of former light heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes (12-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at UFC Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center in Kentucky on June 8.

Jacoby said Reyes is a “very dangerous” opponent whose back is against the wall.

“I know how that feeling is,” Jacoby told MMASucka. “I know what it feels like to have my back against the wall and people counting you out. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic.”

Reyes challenged Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title in February 2020 and lost a unanimous decision where many felt Reyes had done enough for the upset. Reyes would go on to lose his next three.

“Let’s be honest: A lot of people believe he beat Jon Jones,” Jacoby said. “He’s had an unfortunate string of events here his last four fights, including the Jones fight. He’s also fought the best of the best in the world. It’s a very unforgiving sport and a very unforgiving job. He’s had a little rough patch, but I still believe he’s very dangerous and I still think he’s right in his prime. I think it’s a good opportunity for me to go in there and beat a former title challenger and beat a guy who was once at the very top of this division. Everybody was gunning for him. He had the target on his back, and I look forward to the opportunity.”

Jacoby, considering Reyes’ past success in the sport, said a win over him would be “big.”

“I think it’s huge for me,” he said. “I think it’s a fight that I’ll definitely look back on when my career is said and done and I get a win over Dominick Reyes. That’s a huge win, man. When they put your name up there on the TV and say ‘notable wins,’ Dominick Reyes will certainly be up there. Like I said, he’s still very dangerous. I’m not overlooking him one bit. He’s just had a target on his back and fighting the best guys in the world over and over. He certainly hasn’t lost to just anybody. He’s just had a tough run.”

Reyes got off to a hot start in the UFC, bringing a 12-0 professional MMA record and six straight wins into his contest with Jones. “The Devastator” had stopped Chris Weidman, and Jared Cannonier while also picking up wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Ovince St. Preux. However, since the loss to Jones, Reyes has been stopped by Jan Blachowicz, Jiri Prochazka and Ryan Spann.

Jacoby’s last two victories – over Kennedy Nzechukwu and Da Un Jung – both came via knockout.

Jacoby said he’s “certainly thinking about” Reyes’ stoppage losses and his own stoppage wins.

“You ask me how I’m going to win a fight, and every single time I tell you ‘by KO or TKO.’ That’s my game plan,” Jacoby said. “I’m never gonna tell you, ‘I’m gonna wrestle the guy and do jiu-jitsu.’ It’s not my game. I’m capable, but it’s just not my game. It would be foolish of me to sit here and say that I haven’t watched him get finished his last three fights all by T/KO. There’s a tale there. It’s something that does happen. Once your chin goes, it goes. One of my powers is my power and ability to strike and finish early. I’ll certainly be going for the knockout and it’s something we’re very aware of.”

Jacoby said he doesn’t know what to expect from Reyes when the two meet.

“It is mixed martial arts,” he said. “There’s always a chance he could go back to his roots and wrestle a little bit like he did earlier on in his career. A lot of people, that is their game plan when they first get in there with me. I think they realize it’s a little bit tougher than they think to keep me down. Alonzo Menifield shot one time and I completely threw him off. He never tried shooting again. Kennedy Nzechukwu did. Da Un Jung, I felt the pressure and I knew that he wanted to take me down … I think I have some pretty good takedown defense. As you try to wrestle is when I’m really good with my striking. This is mixed martial arts. I’ll be prepared for everywhere the fight goes.”

Jacoby said he’s stronger than he may appear when it comes to clinch positions.

“When I get in those positions, I feel like I pretty much dominate them on the fence, too. I know I can win the fight there. I’ve shown that in previous fights, and I’ll be prepared for it.”

Jacoby finds himself at a one-inch reach disadvantage against Reyes. He said Reyes is a “big guy” but feels his experience of fighting the best strikers in the world in Glory Kickboxing will allow him to prevail.

“It was all a stepping stone to where I’m at right now,” he said of his Glory Kickboxing career. “I’m building my second run in the UFC. I think overall, I’m just more experienced than [Reyes] is. I’m looking for that to be a key factor in this match-up.”

One former foe of Jacoby’s in Glory Kickboxing was Alex Pereira, the current UFC light heavyweight champion and the former middleweight champion. Jacoby said Pereira’s success is “very inspiring stuff.”

“I don’t know why a part of me thought that Jamahal Hill was going to get that fight done,” Jacoby said of the recent title fight. “I don’t know why I’d go against a guy like Pereira. A former Glory opponent of mine. I’m always going for him, but I thought Jamahal was going to get him. Here I am, I made a mistake on that one, man. It’s very impressive. It’s very inspiring. [Pereira] is another one where you think, ‘Oh, I’m just going to go in there and take him down. I think his physical presence, it’s one thing to watch but it’s another to stand in there and be across from him. That’s where you really feel the aura of someone like him and just the presence.”

Jacoby is predicting a first-round finish in his fight with Reyes.

“First-round knockout. First-round TKO. I predict getting my hands raised. It’s certainly something I’m going for, and it’s going to be a great night.”

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!