For the first time in over nine years, a fighter other than Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will be crowned the UFC light heavyweight champion at UFC 253 next month.
After Monday’s announcement that he had vacated the light heavyweight title, Dana White confirmed on ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday night that Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will fight for the vacant 205-pound title on September 26th at UFC 253.
The news of Reyes vs. Blachowicz was first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Monday, although the fight wasn’t finalized due to the unknown status of the light heavyweight title, which has now been sorted.
Reyes (12-1) suffered the first loss of his career this past March at UFC 247 losing by unanimous decision to then-champion Jones. It was a fight that was widely debated with many believing Reyes won the fight. He has been competing in the UFC since 2017 and holds wins over Jared Cannonier, Ovince Saint Preux, Volkan Oezdemir, and Chris Weidman.
Blachowicz (26-8) is 37 years old and has won seven of his last eight fights. During that stretch, his one defeat came by TKO to Thiago Santos in February 2019. Since the loss, he has defeated Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’ and he knocked out Corey Anderson this past February in his last fight. After fighting for KSW in Poland, he came to the UFC in 2014 and is 9-5 with the promotion.
Jones won his first UFC light heavyweight title in March 2011 and was stripped of the championship in April 2015. He officially regained the title in December 2018 after beating Alexander Gustafsson when the title was vacant. During this last title reign, Jones defended the title against Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Reyes.
The UFC 253 pay-per-view will be headlined by Israel Adesanya defending the UFC middleweight title against Paulo Costa along with the light heavyweight title fight. The UFC has not announced the location of the event.