With Jon Jones recently announcing he had vacated the UFC light heavyweight championship, the promotion wasted little time in putting together a bout for the vacant belt. Top contenders Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will battle to determine only the third man to hold the 205-pound championship since 2011 at UFC 253 on Sept. 26.
The fight will serve as the co-headliner to UFC’s latest PPV offering. The event is headlined by a middleweight championship bout between champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa.
Jones’ long run of dominance almost came to an end at the hands of Reyes at UFC 247 in February. Jones was awarded the unanimous decision win, though 14 of 21 media outlets tracked by MMADecisions.com scored the fight for Reyes. The loss was the first of Reyes’ career and he had been angling for a rematch with Jones, but Jones instead expressed interest in moving to heavyweight, engaged in a bitter public dispute with the UFC and eventually vacated the light heavyweight title after stating the two sides had agreed to renegotiate for his heavyweight debut.
Blachowicz positioned himself as a title challenger with a brutal first round knockout of Corey Anderson in February. The victory ran his current winning streak to three and moved him to 7-1 in his eight most recent fights, with the lone loss being to fellow top five light heavyweight Thiago Santos.
Jones first won the championship in 2011 and has lost the championship multiple times, though never in the Octagon, instead being stripped on multiple occasions for issues outside of the cage. The only other man to hold the 205-pound belt in that time was Daniel Cormier.