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Santiago Ponzinibbio suggests title eliminator bout with Rafael dos Anjos

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Santiago Ponzinibbio defeated Mike Perry via decision in Canada.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Santiago Ponzinibbio went 6-0 in the UFC over the past 24 months, and he wants to be compensated for his efforts.

The Argentinian welterweight believes he’s one of the top players in the division after defeating the dangerous Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg, Canada, on Dec. 16. One thing that surprised him that night, he says, was that “Platinum” was able to eat his shots and stay on his feet.

"I knew he had heavy hands, 11 wins and 11 knockouts, so I knew he was dangerous,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Fighting, "But I also knew I’m a better fighter, that I’m more complete, and that I had everything to win. I used my resources to surprise him. I was surprised he didn’t go down because I landed some good shots, but it was a good win. I was in control the entire time.”

With a winning streak that includes stoppages over Gunnar Nelson and Court McGee, and decisions against Nordine Taleb and Zak Cummins, the American Top Team talent wonders "what else I have to do in this division to earn a shot at the title."

"Many people said Perry would win, that he’s a monster, and the same thing was said about my previous six opponents, and I dominated them all,” Ponzinibbio said. "I didn’t get any easy opponent, no big name at the end of their careers. No one wanted to fight (Perry), and I took the fight even though I was ranked and he was not because I wanted to show I’m a fighter and I will fight anyone."

Ponzinibbio believes he’s ready to dethrone welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley if given a chance right now, but has an idea for his next fight considering that Woodley will be out of action for a few months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

"What else I have to do to show I will be the next champion in this division?” Ponzinibbio asked. "I’m ready. I want to fight Tyron Woodley. If he doesn’t want to fight now, wants to do surgery, give me Rafael dos Anjos. He just arrived in the division, has three fights in the division, and I won six straight. I think it would be a good fight to determine the next title contender."

"Nothing personal,” he continued. "I wanted the winner (of Lawler vs. dos Anjos). I think they were close to the belt, as I am, too, so if Tyron Woodley will stay out for some time, create an interim belt or let us fight in a title eliminator bout. I think it’s fair.”

dos Anjos quickly went 3-0 since moving up to 170 pounds earlier this year, but Ponzinibbio doesn’t sound that impressed by his run at welterweight so far.

"If Lawler had won, maybe he would go for the title right away because he’s a former welterweight champion, but Rafael dos Anjos just arrived in the division and hasn’t fought that much,” he said. "Who did he beat? Tarec Saffiedine isn’t well, and Neil Magny is… He had a good win over Lawler, but I think he hasn’t done much to earn a title shot. He should fight one more, and a fight with me would be interesting for everyone to watch.”

The UFC is planning a trip to a South American country in 2018, looking at events in Chile and Argentina, and Ponzinibbio sees a potential fight with dos Anjos as a perfect main event.

"I think it's a great option, a great fight for the fans,” said Ponzinibbio, who will take a few days off to relax before he jumps back in training in January. "I have the longest winning streak in the division and I deserve this. I’m not asking for a title shot because I want it, I’m asking because I deserve it."