Reyes Looking To Bring Mamba Mentality To UFC 247
A few weeks ago, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other died in a helicopter crash. The entire combat sports community was shocked, sending out messages in support of the families affected and to honor the lives of the fallen.
One fighter who was impacted by this news was Dominick Reyes. He will look to honor Kobe this Saturday, February 8 when he takes on Jon Jones at UFC 247 for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title.
At at media scrum for UFC 247 last week, Reyes (12-0) discussed Kobe’s influence on his life. He was hoping to wear a Bryant jersey throughout UFC 247 fight week, but was unable to due to the deal the UFC has with Reebok. All Kobe gear is made by Nike, and Reebok has a strict policy on what fighters can and can’t wear.
According to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Reyes is planning to find a loophole on the situation, writing “24” on the wraps he will use against Jones. The 30-year-old Californian will also walk out to the late Nipsey Hussle’s “Grinding All My Life”, honoring both men who were huge influences on his life. He watched both dominate their respective brands and always looked to emulate that.
One aspect of Kobe’s legacy that many fighters have been preaching about following a win is the Mamba Mentality. Reyes’ desire to win and be the best that you can be comes from watching “The Black Mamba” on his TV when he was a kid.
“The only idol I’ve ever had as an athlete,” Reyes stated, via ESPN. “I’ve never looked up to any other athlete but Kobe Bryant. Kobe’s mentality of ‘nobody is gonna believe in you but you’ — I’ve used that throughout my life. I made it to my university, I’m here on that philosophy. Nobody is gonna believe in you but you. Nobody is gonna work for you. Work when the lights are off, work when nobody is looking. That’s what matters. That’s what makes you a champion. Winning is everything. Oh, man. All of that is a huge part of why I’m here today.”
As he enters the Toyota Center looking to dethrone arguably the best Light Heavyweight in UFC history in Jones (25-1, 1NC), Reyes will do everything in his power to walk away with the win. Whether it is by knockout, submission or decision, the desire to outpoint Jones is something Reyes will hope to achieve.
By becoming a champion, like his idol, he will have completed a mission that has more of a meaning to it than ever before.