Two UFC flyweights who have been defeated by uber-champion Demetrious Johnson in the past will square off this Saturday in UFC 215’s co-main event. With “DJ” himself not competing in Edmonton, Alberta after opponent Ray Borg fell ill, Henry Cejudo and Wilson Reis will do battle to decide who will remain in the title picture.
The most recent challenger Johnson’s belt, Reis took the opportunity to defend the champion against public criticism. While fans often moan that Johnson’s fights aren’t exciting enough, one of his rivals thinks that it’s not the champ’s fault that no contender has been able to get him into serious trouble so far.
“It’s good to have a dominant champion in the division, you see that everyone tried and failed [to beat him]”, Reis told AG. Fight. “I loved to watch Mike Tyson in his dominant time, so I think fans should give Demetrious more respect as a champion. Just as we gave all support to Anderson Silva in all of his title defenses.”
Last April, the decorated BJJ black belt challenged Johnson but was submitted in the third round. Despite being dominated, though, Reis seems confident that a rematch could happen soon if he notches a good win at UFC 215.
“When it happened, it was not easy. I was upset with the defeat. But I know it was an opportunity that I won with my sweat and my training. I got there once and, sure enough, I will get there again. I’m young and I’m feeling very well, I feel full of energy and will, so I can’t stop.”
To move back into contention, Reis will have to overcome Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, who has started his MMA career going 10-0 before falling short in his last two fights. The matchup is an interesting one, style-wise, since jiu-jitsu specialist Reis will be facing a stern test in getting the high-level wrestler from his feet to his back. Reis is not too worried, though.
“I have an aggressive wrestling style, too”, said Reis. “I like to take people down, I’m looking for an opportunity all the time, so, just because he is an Olympic champion, I will not take that part of my game out of my strategy. I believe very much in my takedown abilities, so I will fully rely on my wrestling and jiu-jitsu against him.”
“I’ll get the finish […]. His style will only suit me. I trained a lot to explore the openings in this fight. I trained to win, and to win impressively. I want to submit him or knock him out.”