Gaston Reyno finally has returned to competition, and he is stoked.
The Uruguayan MMA fighter turned combat sports commentator for ESPN Deportes made his long-awaited comeback this past Friday when he fought on the main card of BKFC KnuckleMania 3 in Albuquerque, N.M.
Reyno, who was debuting in bareknuckle boxing, beat Daniel Vansickle by first-round TKO. It was his first fight since December 2019.
“I realized that I missed this a ton,” Reyno told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “It made me feel alive. I always hated the weight cuts. When the day came that I needed to get into the sauna or the hot tub, I would say, ‘No, no, no. I don’t want to. I don’t want to.’ But this time, I was putting on the cream myself to get into the sauna, and I was happy. I thought, ‘How lucky I am to be doing this again.’
“And don’t get me started about going into the arena, being at the fighter’s meeting with that silence that you can cut through with a knife, the weigh-in, the staredown, the support from the people. It was all incredible. I enjoyed every single second of it. It’s true that I’m passionate about commentating combat sports and all that, but there’s truly nothing like fighting. That’s what I enjoy the most.”
“Tonga” wasn’t sure about his future in bareknuckle boxing going into KnuckleMania 3. He had it on his bucket list to see what is like to fight bareknuckle, but nothing beyond that. However, after a successful camp and debut, Reyno is eager to do it again.
“I’ll be back,” Reyno said. “They already offered me something, and we’re going to chat once I get to Miami. I truly enjoyed this. I felt great. I didn’t know what it was like to strike bareknuckle or get hit, but my body is good. Maybe my hands are a little swollen, especially the left one, but they say that it’s normal, and it’s starting to go away. I have nothing broken and I’m good.”
Reyno recently turned 36 and knows his time competing at his highest potential is limited. That’s why he wants to stay ready and fight as much as possible in the next few years. Reyno will continue under the BKFC banner, but the Bellator and Combate Global veteran hasn’t forgotten about his roots.
“I feel like fighting again and generating that buzz not only in Uruguay, but Latin America, has opened the doors for me with other organizations. I haven’t negotiated anything, but I got several messages from several matchmakers congratulating me. That’s how this business works. You’re only as good as your last fight, and if you’re not fighting, you’re not good. So I think this can open opportunities. I’m open to it all.”