After racking up three straight victories inside the UFC’s Octagon and earning a shot at flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, Wilson Reis stumbled this year with defeats to Johnson and Henry Cejudo. Despite having lost two fights back to back for the first time in his UFC career, the BJJ phenom doesn’t feel the pressure to succeed yet, at least not more than usual.
“I feel no obligation to win, but I know I do have to win”, Reis told AG. Fight. “I don’t like to fight feeling like I have obligations to fulfill. I always fight to win, but I also always struggle to really remain within the strategy we set, to adhere to the things we did in practice.”
“So it’s obvious that when you win, everything is good: you get the victory, you earn money. But I’m a fighter and I love what I do in the sport of MMA and one thing that is very important [apart from the result itself] is also to properly execute the techniques in the fight, to win more fans each time by giving them a treat with a beautiful knockout or submission.”
That is why Reis wants to not only win and save himself from a position that might see him getting cut from the promotion, but to put on a show that he, his coaches and the crowd can take enjoyment from.
“I know my next fight will be an important fight, I know that I have to win my next fight, obviously, but anything can happen. Even more now that [flyweight] has a lot of good guys, a lot of new guys, and they’re all getting better all the time, so I can’t be complacent.”
Last April, Reis had his chance to win the UFC’s flyweight belt, but was defeated by defending champion Demetrious Johnson. The Brazilian explained that in addition to facing the best flyweight in the world, the brief time between his title shot and his fight before that – a win over Ulka Sasaki in February – factored into the third-round submission loss.
“I was coming off a good winning streak when I lost”, Reis said. “I lost the title fight, the first loss to Demetrious, I lost to a spectacular champion, a great athlete. He’s very good in all areas. Unfortunately, I felt very fatigued and very tired from the previous camp I had done because I had fought eight weeks before the title fight. And I did another camp right then and there, so I guess it just took me a while to start following my strategy [in the fight]. And I lost. Demetrious Johnson is the greatest UFC champion of all time, the champion of my division.”
Not having fought since his subsequent September loss to Henry Cejudo, Reis revealed that he hopes to return to action in front of a home crowd. With UFC Belem scheduled for February 3, Reis said that he’s interested in fighting on that card.
“I don’t have plans yet for my next opponent”, Reis said. “But I really want to fight at UFC Belem. UFC Belem or at any event in March, I’ll be ready by then. So, we’re starting negotiations, but I don’t have an event or an opponent in sight. In my case, I really want to fight at UFC Belem, but there’s been nothing yet. Let’s just cross our fingers that I can negotiate a fight on that card.”
Currently ranked sixth in the UFC’s official flyweight rankings, Reis has accumulated 22 victories in his 30 professional fights, with six wins coming inside the Octagon.