Ask and you shall receive.
After snatching the first submission win of his mixed martial arts career in early September, rising Kiwi UFC light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg took advantage of his time on the microphone and called for a fight against No.13-ranked Dominick Reyes.
It was a signal of intent from Ulberg, who is yet to get a shot at a ranked opponent but has strung together five wins in a row and four straight by stoppage.
Now, the UFC has granted his request.
Ulberg will step into the octagon against Reyes at UFC 297 in Toronto, Canada, in late January, looking to earn his place in the top 15.
“I feel like I’m building, and I’ll continue to build. This next fight that I want is top 15, then I’ll go top 10 and then I want to go from there; just continue to push,” Ulberg said after his win at UFC 293 in September.
“I want to get that title and I know I’ll get there, it’s just a matter of getting those fights and getting on the right cards to get the right fights.
“Right now, Dominick Reyes is in a position in the top 15 where I can get that, I can grab that off him, but he’s a name...I think that’s a guy for me to test myself [against].”
Reyes burst onto the scene in the UFC in 2017, after putting together an impressive resume – going undefeated in his first six fights with the promotion before losing a unanimous decision to Jon Jones in his bid to dethrone his fellow American - regarded by many as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Since then, it’s been a tumultuous road for the 33-year-old who has lost three fights in a row in brutal fashion – being on the wrong end of three highlight-reel knockouts.
Reyes has not fought in more than a year and will be looking to prove he is still a force in the division against the rising Kiwi, posting “be careful what you wish for” on Instagram as the bout was confirmed.
It’s an intriguing matchup, with both fighters favouring their striking and having the vast majority of their wins coming by way of knockout, but also having been knocked out themselves during their MMA careers.
“He’s been in there. He’s been in there Jon Jones. Five rounds with Jon Jones and we know how that went. I think that will be a step up, big time. He’s ranked No.13 right now and that’s a spot that I want,” Ulberg said.
“He’s going to be the perfect person for me to test my abilities [against] and, in saying that, I think this is what the people want. This is what everyone wants to see – myself and Dominick Reyes. He’s a big opponent.”
Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.
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