Ex-UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos: Third child why I won't fight Santiago Ponzinibbio in Argentina

Former UFC lightweight champ and welterweight contender Rafael dos Anjos is drawing a line for his next fight – it has to be in the U.S.

Dos Anjos (28-9 MMA, 17-7 UFC), 33, is tired of fighting overseas and wants to stay closer to home so he can support his wife, who will give birth to their third child next month.

“I don’t care who I fight, but I just don’t want to leave my family,” dos Anjos today told MMAjunkie. “I think my family is first. I can’t leave a young kid with my wife alone here.

“She’s going to get a C-section, so she’s going to need help. I’m the man. I need to be here supporting my wife and my family. That’s my job, and I’m not going to leave my family to fight in another country and fight far away from home.”

The former champ said he was called to fight overseas against Santiago Ponzinibbio (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in a headliner at UFC Fight Night 140, which is expected to take place Nov. 17 in Ponzinibbio’s home country of Argentina. When the country was mentioned, dos Anjos said he drew the line.

“When (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby called me to offer that fight, my first question was, ‘Where?’ I didn’t even ask him who I’m going to be fighting,” dos Anjos said. “He goes, ‘Argentina.’ I said, ‘Sean, last year I fought two times in Canada, I fought in Singapore, and one time here in the U.S. I want to stay around, especially on that date – not because it’s Santiago Ponzinibbio.

“(Ponzinibbio is) making a big drama saying that I’m afraid to fight him in Argentina. No, I’m not afraid. I told him to come to my gym – we’ll fight here. We’ll fight in Las Vegas.

“I’m not afraid of that guy. I just don’t want to take an 18-hour flight. Even in Brazil – I don’t want to fight in Brazil. It’s too far. I don’t want to take a 15- or 16-hour flight to leave my family for that long. I want to fight in the U.S. That’s what I said.”

That apparently ended the immediate prospect of facing Ponzinibbio, who remains unbooked after an injury forced him to withdraw from a meeting with top contender Kamaru Usman (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC).

Recently, Usman was tapped as a backup fighter in case No. 1 contender Darren Till fails to make weight for a fight with champ Tyron Woodley next month at UFC 228. That motivated dos Anjos to reach out to Usman on social media, imploring him not to “waste your camp.” While the quick turnaround wasn’t a problem, Usman didn’t take the offer, and the Sept. 8 card is already packed with 14 fights.

Now dos Anjos is waiting for a call from the UFC. Recently cleared to fight after undergoing surgery on his left ear, he said he’d love another shot at Colby Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who beat him earlier this year to claim the interim welterweight title. But at this point, the location matters more than the opponent.

“I will stay ready,” he said. “I’m training. I’m trying to get better and get back in shape. I don’t care who, but I just don’t want to leave my family. I think my family is first. I can’t leave a young kid with my wife alone here.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

 

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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