Jon Jones to defend UFC light heavyweight title vs. Dominick Reyes in February

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor
Jon Jones won arguably the closest fight of his career earlier this year. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Jon Jones won arguably the closest fight of his career earlier this year. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

The 15th title fight of Jon Jones’ UFC career will come against undefeated challenger Dominick Reyes, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Friday.

The fight is reportedly scheduled for Feb. 8 at an unnamed UFC event in the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center. The co-main event will be another title fight, with women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko facing No. 1 contender Katlyn Chookagian.

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Reyes, ranked the No. 3 challenger in the official UFC rankings, is a natural choice for Jones’ next opponent given that Jones has already beat the rest of the top four. Since his UFC debut in June 2017, the 29-year-old has ascended to contention with six straight victories. The most recent was a first-round knockout of Chris Weidman.

There had been some speculation Jones could face UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who has been trading barbs with Jones since his win over former champ Robert Whittaker. The latest was your standard cocaine joke at Jones’ expense, which Jones responded to by shutting down any possibility of a fight until 2021.

Jones coming off closest fight of his UFC career

After more than a decade of fighting in the UFC, and the last eight years spent competing only in title fights, Jones’ lone professional loss remains a disqualification for illegal elbows against Matt Hamill in 2011. That nearly changed in Jones’ last fight, the first split-decision win of his career.

Facing the Brazilian Thiago Santos, Jones eventually prevailed in a punishing contest. The victorious champ had to be helped out of the Octagon and was later seen in a wheelchair. Santos’ condition wasn’t much better, as it was later determined that he tore literally all but one ligament in his knee in the first round of a five-round fight.

With Reyes, Jones gets a chance to assert himself once again as the most dominant talent the sport has ever seen at the age of 32.

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