Santiago Ponzinibbio responds to Gunnar Nelson’s eye-poke complaints, promises to KO Mike Perry
WINNIPEG – Before getting into his fight with Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 26, first let Santiago Ponzinibbio address complaints that he is a dirty fighter.
Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) received criticism for intentional eye pokes in his first-round knockout of Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 113 in July. Nelson and his team said after the fight that Ponzinibbio extended his fingers and caused damage to the eyes prior to the quick finish. The Argentinean shut all that down.
“He don’t talk nothing in the fight, I don’t understand,” Ponzinibbio told MMAjunkie at today’s UFC on FOX 26 media day. “After the fight he only said (I cheated), I don’t understand? … I have 14 fights for Zuffa and never have nothing illegal. He don’t have nothing from the fight. After the fight, he started to talk. He got knocked out from my right hand, it’s really strong. I knock out this guy.”
Ponzinibbio brings a five-fight UFC winning streak in the welterweight division into the bout with Perry, which is a fight many are expecting to be a stand-up battle. Ponzinibbio certainly agrees the fight is going to stay standing, but will it be competitive? He thinks not.
“Two strikers, the people like this fight, but I am better,” Ponzinibbio said. “I am better than this guy at everything. I finish this guy. … I know I’ll finish anyone in this division. Any guy that fights with me, I’ll finish this guy. I’m ready to finish all the fights in this division.”
Ponzinibbio admits anticipated a bigger-name fight following his win over Nelson earlier this year. Given his winning streak and overall UFC success, a top-five foe was on his mind. There was no one available given the timetable, though, so Ponzinibbio accepted the proposed matchup with Perry.
Should he win and extend his streak even further, though, Ponzinibbio said he won’t be denied. Ultimately he’s willing to fight as many times as it takes to reach a UFC title shot, but Ponzinibbio insists he’s ready to fight the very elite, and even 170-pound champ Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) as soon as he can.
“I am ready for the next champion in this division,” Ponzinibbio said. “If they give me the title, I want the title tomorrow. I want the title today. I am ready for the champion of this division. If UFC gives it to me, I’ll fight. If the UFC gives me 10 more, OK. I will have 16 victories in a row before I have my title shot.”
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