Santiago Ponzinibbio accuses Tyron Woodley of ducking him – but that's not all

Santiago Ponzinibbio didn’t go into his UFC Fight Night 140 headliner expecting a title shot with a win. But he might be a little more motivated to get one after hearing what champ Tyron Woodley had to say about the possibility.

At the commentary desk for Saturday’s FS1-televised show, Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) didn’t completely dismiss the idea of fighting Ponzinibbio (27-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) . He just told the contender to “take a number, adding, “everyone wants a crack at the king.”

To Ponzinibbio, that was just further confirmation that the champ has been ducking him.

“I understand why he says that,” Ponzinibbio said at the press conference for Saturday’s event at Parque Roca Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “He wants to hold on to his title as long as possible.

“He knows that if he does fight me, I’m going to knock him out and take it, so he wants to keep extending his reign for as long as he can. That’s why he keeps saying I have a long way to go.”

A knockout of Neil Magny (21-7 MMA, 14-6 UFC) might’ve shortened that distance considerably. Returning from an 11-month layoff because of injury, Ponzinibbio needed to make a statement and delivered with flying colors.

In the octagon, he called for a title opportunity. But backstage, he looked forward to a matchup with the winner of an upcoming fight between ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman, which is set for The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale later this month.

“It’s not math,” Ponzinibbio said. “It’s not just the numbers; the division shifts a lot. But it would be a great fight, and I’m really looking forward to one of those.”

One the Argentinian isn’t interested in is another suggestion floated by the commentary desk: Darren Till.

“I don’t see him as a very professional athlete,” Ponzinibbio said. “I think he missed weight a few times. So there are other fights that I’m more interested in than him.”

With seven straight wins, Ponzinibbio can afford to make a few demands of his own. Woodley might be an elusive target now, but there are only so many logical hurdles left in the division.

“I think I deserve a top-five fight, and I think after tonight’s victory, I might climb to that position,” Ponzinibbio said. “I’m looking for a title shot all the way. Maybe I’ll need one more fight, but that’s my objective going forward.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 140, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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