NEW YORK – Dominick Reyes feels like a new man.
The former UFC title challenger feels reinvigorated and much improved ahead of his return to the octagon. Reyes (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) takes on Ryan Spann (20-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) on the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC 281. And in preparation for this return, Reyes made some radical changes to his fighting career.
The 32-year-old switched training camps and went from California to Connecticut to train with former UFC champion Glover Teixeira. Reyes feels the change has massively had an impact on his game and that will be seen on Saturday.
“Skill-wise, I’m Dom 2.0,” Reyes told reporters at the UFC 281 media day. “My defense is heavily upgraded, my offense is even better than before. Yeah, I think my timing and my speed it’s faster than it’s ever been, but my defense is heavily upgraded.”
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Reyes enters UFC 281 on a three-fight losing skid, which are the only losses of his professional MMA career. Reyes has dropped consecutive bouts to former champions Jon Jones, Jan Blachowicz, and current titleholder Jiri Prochazka.
Reyes believes it was key to make the change to train with Teixeria and Alex Pereira, who challenges middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 281.
“It was really good being out of my comfort zone,” Reyes said. “I never trained out of California, and I went out to Connecticut and trained with those guys. I was the new guy, I took a step back, you know. Alex is fighting for the title. It’s Glover’s gym, you know. It was kind of cool being a student again and yeah, man, I’m ready to go.”
He later added,
“Absolutely (it added to my game), my defense is crazy now. You guys are going to see. When Alex and Glover and everybody is like, ‘Bro, it’s really having a hard time getting close to you and touching you.’ That says a lot. I’m very confident and happy.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 281.