With UFC 227 now behind us, and witnessing TJ Dillashaw retain his Bantamweight title by KO’ing Cody Garbrandt once again, comes another major situation the UFC has to sort out. Who is the next contender for Dillashaw at 135 lbs?
One top contender in particular feels like it should be him.
Now mind you, this man I’m talking about has done nothing but gone 11-1 in the division, beaten up all comers the UFC has put against him, and hasn’t complained one bit, despite having been overlooked for more”popular” contenders.
This person I’m referring to is none other than seasoned veteran, Raphael Assuncao.
On the heels of Dillashaw making quick work of Garbrandt, the UFC has now backed itself up against a very heavy wall in deciding who the next rightful contender to title will be.
Looking at the current field of top ranked bantamweights, the list is legitimate but at the same time very thin. You have Dominick Cruz, Marlon Moraes, and of course the aforementioned Assuncao.
Regardless of how flashy an entertaining his bantamweight peers are, Assuncao strongly believes he’s the next man deserving of the next crack at Dillashaw, especially since he’s a man with one loss in his division and has a victory over fellow bantamweight contender Moraes.
What also makes Assuncao’s even more convincing, is the support from others in the UFC who feel the cagey brazilian is worthy of the next shot at the UFC bantamweight championship.
But if you ask Assuncao himself, there’s no question about it.
“I don’t know any other reason I shouldn’t be the next guy, unless they go by Twitter followers,” Assuncao told MMA Fighting this week. “If they go by Twitter followers, then I probably won’t be that guy. And I can cry about it but that’s the truth, right? There’s nothing more I can do about it other than campaign and try to be a truthful guy. If they go by who has the most Twitter followers and Instagram followers, then I probably won’t be that guy. But if they go by the most deserving, the most consistent, and one of the best fighters in the division, I’ll be that guy. I’d definitely be that guy.
“I’ve never missed weight. I’m the most consistent guy in this division, probably up there with TJ, because TJ. is a pretty consistent champion,” Assuncao added. “I think he’s one of the most consistent guys out there. Other than myself and TJ, there’s no other fighter in there who’s as consistent as we are.”
Up to this point Assuncao isn’t sure what he has to do to for the UFC to realize he should be deemed the next man up to vie for the UFC Bantamweight crown, he’s one of the best competitors in the weight class, has a near flawless record during his time there, and has even split bouts with TJ Dillashaw.
“I have no idea, man. I have no idea,” Assuncao said. “I’ve done everything that I have to do, I’ve done everything that I could do, and I don’t know what else to do. It’s a confusing time right now. It’s just a crazy time in the bantamweight division, I understand that, but let’s make this happen, man. I don’t know what else I’ve got to do. I really don’t.
“I’m starting to think of other options, like, get a good lawyer or something,” Assuncao added, laughing. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t.”
Do you believe Raphael Assuncao is the next legitimate contender for the UFC bantamweight championship?