Raphael Assuncao wants shot at Renan Barao if Dominick Cruz can’t return

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

BARUERI, Brazil -- Raphael Assuncao moved to 5-0 as a bantamweight with a win over T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil, and he believes he deserves the next shot at the title if Dominick Cruz can’t return to fight interim champion Renan Barao next year.

"I’ll wait and see what happens," Assuncao told the media after his win in Barueri on Wednesday. "Barao deserves to fight Dominick Cruz to settle this. There’s another semifinal between Urjiah Faber and Michael McDonald to happen. I don’t know what happens next, but I have done enough."

Faber meets McDonald on Dec. 14 and the winner of this bout could get the next shot at the title if Cruz isn’t cleared, but Assuncao thinks he should get the shot first.

"They both lost to Barao already," he said. "I respect Barao a lot, but I have a different style to fight him."

Team Alpha Male had gone 14-0 in 2013 since adding Duane "Bang" Ludwig as head coach, but Assuncao gave them their first loss with a split decision win over Dillashaw.

"It was cool," he said. "They were undefeated in the UFC since Duane Ludwig started working with them. With all the respect, it was cool, an important win for me."

"It was a good test for me," he continued. "They study the fight a lot, but I won. After the fight I was a little nervous, I wasn’t sure [how the judges scored the fight when it was over], but I believe I won the second and third rounds."

Faber already beat Assuncao when they fought at 145 pounds in 2010 for WEC, and the Brazilian wants to get his rematch. However, he wants to do it after he fights for the UFC gold.

"Among all my losses, Faber is the only one that has defeated me and is already fighting in my weight classes," said Assuncao, whose other losses under the Zuffa banner were to Erick Koch and Diego Nunes.

"I would like to fight him again, but only after I get my title shot. He already had his chance [for the title]. He’s the poster boy for the UFC, but I deserve my shot at the title."

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