Wilson Reis and Henry Cejudo will step into the Octagon this Saturday night in the co-main event at UFC 215. Both have been recent victims of flyweight king Demetrious Johnson's dominant reign, yet, the powerhouse grappler Reis and the Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Cejudoare each vying for another shot at the strap.
"Mighty Mouse" was initially slated to defend his title against Ray Borg in Edmonton, Alberta, but a viral illness forced the title challenger out of the tilt. This turn of events eventually led to Johnson being bumped from the card entirely and put his run for UFC history on hold for the time being. With Reis being the most recent threat to Johnson's title, he took the opportunity to defend the only champion the UFC's 125-pound collective has known against public criticism.
"It's good to have a dominant champion in the division, you see that everyone tried and failed [to beat him]," Reis said. "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."
On April 15, Reis fought for the title against Johnson but lost via third-round submission at UFC on Fox 24 in Kansas City, MO.
"When it happened, it was not easy," Reis said of his last fight. "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."
While Johnson will now be forced to wait for his next bout to be scheduled, Reis and Cejudo are still jockeying to determine status in the current title picture. The winner will be in a great position going forward, and the Brazilian believes those stakes will make for a tremendous fight on Saturday night.
"I have an aggressive wrestling style, too," Reis said. "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."