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Vicente Luque has said he’d like to face Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Uruguay in August, but the Argentinean isn’t interested in the fight just yet, claiming Luque’s ranking is not high enough, and has targeted a bout later this year against Darren Till.
Ponzinibbio is currently recovering from surgery he underwent last week to clear up a bacterial infection in his blood and said he’ll have a better idea on his return in a few weeks once the recovery process is over. The 32-year-old is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak including victories over Neil Magny, Mike Perry and Gunnar Nelson.
Ponzinibbio said in a recent interview with Blood Elbow that he wants a top-ranked guy in his next fight given the calibre of fighters he’s faced recently and beat (via BloodyElbow.com):
“My last three fights, two times I fought the No. 8 in the world, and both times I knocked out,” Ponzinibbio said. “I think I deserve a fight with a top-five guy, a higher ranking than me. But right now, I don’t know when I can come back. I don’t know who will be available when I am ready to come back. When I can come back to training and I’m in good shape, I’ll look at my options.”
One opponent Ponzinibbio has his eyes on is the UK’s Darren Till who is coming off a sickening knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC London back in March. Fellow welterweight Rafael dos Anjos had recently claimed that he had heard Ponzinibbio turned down a fight with “The Gorilla” for the event in London. Dos Anjos believed the UFC did not want to give Ponzinibbio a big fight as punishment to the Argentinean.
Ponzinibbio denied those claims and said he wasn’t available for the London card in March as he was dealing with a knee injury. The injury would have comprised his win-streak and according to Ponzinibbio he wasn’t going to fight at “70, 80 percent” because “I put in a lot of work for seven victories in a row” but was willing to fight Till in April or May.
“This is bullsh-t. The first guy that turned down the fight with Darren Till is himself, not me,” Ponzinibbio said. ... “The UFC needed him for London, and they put another guy, they put (Jorge) Masvidal. [Till] was scared to fight me. He don’t like the fight with me. He knows if he fight with me, he would lose and have three losses in a row.”
Ponzinibbio said Till had originally turned down a fight with him at UFC Argentina back in November and instead he faced-off against Neil Magny beating him via a fourth-round TKO win.
“When I fought in Argentina, he said no, he can’t go to Argentina, it’s too far, blah blah blah,” Ponzinibbio said of Till. “After [my win over Magny], he said, ‘I’d like to fight Ponzinibbio,’ and my manager talked to the UFC, and [Till] turned down the fight. He said nothing about the fight. He don’t like the fight with me. He was scared.”
Ponzinibbio claimed Till would be an “easy fight” for him before labeling him a “fake fighter,” not a “real fighter.”