By Robert Balajadia
Guam’s 26-year-old Jon “The Heat” Delos Reyes has been called up to the UFC and will make his debut January 4th, 2014 against Dustin Kimura in UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore.
“I was stunned, shocked. It was a crazy feeling and I wanted to break down, I got very emotional. My mom, dad, and grandma were really happy that I made it to the big show, they have been supporting me since the beginning,” said Delos Reyes upon receiving the news.
Delos Reyes follows in the footsteps of Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck as the only Guam fighters in the UFC, and also the second Guam fighter named “Jon.”
Lloyd Cubacub, who manages Delos Reyes, managed to keep Delos Reyes’ name in the ear of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby since Tuck’s UFC debut.
“[Shelby] was talking about creating a UFC Asia Fight Series to try and expand the Asian market. Tuck dropped Delos Reyes name and Delos Reyes tried out for TUF and the top 50 after moving to Las Vegas. During Tuck’s fight against Parke, I met and spoke to Shelby again and he asked about the MMA scene on Guam. I shot [Shelby] an email when I got back to the states and I told him about Delos Reyes,” explained Cubacub on Delos Reyes’ back story.
Then, after exchanging links to Delos Reyes’ fights and records online, Shelby responded with a simple sentence that would change Delos Reyes life.
“I like Delos Reyes, let me find an opponent,” was the message as explained by Cubacub.
Shelby originally matched Delos Reyes with a fighter from Korea, but the fighter was already on contract for another fight and could not accept the Delos Reyes bout. A week went by with no official word which Cubacub explained was the most grueling week ever.
“Shelby got back to us after a week and said he got Dustin Kimura and asked if we will take it. I told him it doesn’t matter who we get at this point, we just want a fight! Right after the contract was sent we flew Delos Reyes out to Arizona to train with Tuck,” said Cubacub.
Delos Reyes could have stayed in Las Vegas to train, where he had a steady job, but Cubacub explained that no one will be looking out for Delos Reyes as good as Jon Tuck would and that it’s like training with family considering how close the groups relationship is.
Delos Reyes has now moved to Arizona and is living with Tuck.
“Tuck wanted Delos Reyes to come out and train even before Kimura,” Cubacub said on Jon Tuck’s reaction to the news. Tuck knew that Delos Reyes had the UFC’s attention and wanted him to be ready.
Cubacub refers to Tuck as the “Manny Pacquiao” of Guam in putting Guam fighters on the map.
With an MMA record of 7-2, Delos Reyes’ UFC debut against Kamura will be the biggest of his life. “I know my opponent is pretty good and we match up well. I know he’s got a good ground game,” said Delos Reyes on Kimura.
Cubacub noted that Deloas Reyes got in a few sparring practices with former lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
Delos Reyes has not gained as much media popularity on Guam compared to the likes of Tuck, Baby Joe “The Juggernaut” Taimanglo, and Frank “The Crank” Camacho, but he is well know around gyms with pro level MMA skill.
Delos Reyes last fought in PXC 33 in Manilla with a submission victory over Troy Bantiag.
“He’s definitely the ‘dark horse.’ He’s hardly ever in the discussion when people talk about fighters on Guam, but he has all the skills,” added Cubacub.
Both Tuck and Delos Reyes will be back on Guam to wrap up the final training sessions before the fight in January.
Delos Reyes had a message for those aspiring to make it big in MMA saying, “You have to just keep training and keep believing in yourself.”
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