Last night, Santiago Ponzinibbio was fighting in his home country of Argentina, in which he was taking on Neil Magny. Ultimately, Ponzinibbio didn’t disappoint his fans and defeated Magny in the fourth round by knockout.
Heading into the fight, Ponzinibbio was ranked tenth in the welterweight division. With the win, Ponzinibbio should see himself shoot up the rankings. As for who he wants to fight next, Ponzinibbio called out the champion, Tyron Woodley inside the Octagon. Woodley was working the broadcast in the FOX studios and told him he needs to ‘keep winning’ if he wants a title shot.
Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference after the fight, Ponzinibbio understands why Woodley thinks he needs to fight more. He was sidelined for 11-months before fighting Magny. But if Ponzinibbio were to fight Woodley, he knows how the fight would go.
“In regards to Woodley, I understand fully why he says that, he wants to hold on to his title as long as possible,” Ponzinibbio said (transcript via MMAFighting). “He knows that if he does fight me, I’m going to knock him out, I’m going to take it. He wants to keep extending his reign for as long as he can. That’s why he keeps saying that I still have a long way to go.”
If Ponzinibbio does indeed need to win another fight to get the title shot he already knows who he would like to fight. Ponzinibbio wants a top-five opponent to show he is ready for the title shot.
“It would be a great fight to fight one of those victors, between the Dos Anjos-Usman fight,” Ponzinibbio added. “It’s not math, it’s not just the numbers, the division shifts a lot. It would be a great fight and I’m really looking forward to one of those.”
Ultimately, Ponzinibbio made waves in the welterweight division and could be just one fight away from a title shot. MMA in Argentina is not popular, but with Ponzinibbio becoming a star, he is grateful Argentina has his back.
“I’m thrilled to see how the sport has grown so much and how the recognition has grown so much in this country,” Ponzinibbio said. “I’m going to keep helping to develop that to expand it further in this country, I’m going to give seminars and classes. I really think a sport expands and really helps people in their lives. So I’m thrilled to see that in our country.”
The next step for him is to fight a top contender in 2019 and then fight for the belt later that year. For now, Ponzinibbio is just embracing the win in front in his home country.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime