Raphael Assuncao wants to ‘stay busy’ at UFN 35, fight the winner of Cruz vs. Barao


Raphael Assuncao is in a "difficult position" in the UFC bantamweight division.

Undefeated since dropping to the 135-pound weight class with five victories, the Brazilian feels he deserves a shot at the title, but would accept a fight at UFC Fight Night 35 in Duluth, Ga., to "stay busy".

"That’s an idea," Assuncao told MMAFighting.com. "I live in Atlanta and I feel I’m in a good position to fight for the title against the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao, but they will fight in February, so they probably wouldn’t be able to fight again until July.

"I’m in a difficult position right now. If they give me a fight in January, I want a title shot next. I don’t know if I just wait for a title shot or if I fight to stay busy. I have to sit with my team and my bosses to make a decision."

Assuncao has scored a pair of wins over top-ranked opponents since moving down to bantamweight, defeating T.J. Dillashaw and Mike Easton, and he has no idea who he could fight now.

All four bantamweights ranked above him are set to fight each other, with Cruz fighting Barao and Urijah Faber meeting Michael McDonald. Ranked No. 4 in the UFC, Assuncao is not excited with the idea of fighting Eddie Wineland, who is coming off a loss to Barao.

"Urijah and McDonald will fight now, but they already fought for the title and lost," he said. "Wineland just fought for the title and lost, so I’m not interested in this fight. It doesn’t make much sense. He’s well ranked, but he’s coming off a loss."

Assuncao is waiting for the UFC to decide his future, and he expects to fight for the bantamweight title next year. He picks his countrymen to win, and wants to challenge him in Brazil.

"I believe Barao will win this fight," he said, when asked about his predictions the UFC 169 main event on Feb. 1 in New Jersey. "Dominick hasn’t fought for a while. A knee surgery is always complicated and he had two. I think it’s going the distance, and Barao wins it."

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