Santiago Ponzinibbio wants UFC main event with Belal Muhammad ‘to beat him up a lot so he learns to keep his mouth shut’


Santiago Ponzinibbio is coming off a decision win over welterweight prospect Miguel Baeza. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Belal Muhammad and Neil Magny seem into the idea of fighting each other inside the octagon, but Santiago Ponzinibbio has thrown his name into the hat as well.

The Argentine welterweight, who holds a dominant TKO victory over Magny, is eyeing a return to the cage in September after winning a decision over Miguel Baeza this past June, one week prior to Muhammad’s win over Demian Maia.

“I want to fight soon – September,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Fighting. “There are plenty of guys that are just waiting, but these days I saw Belal calling out Magny for the September 25 card. Brother, I think that’s a great fight [for me].

“[Muhammad] was always ranked behind me, and he called me out a couple of fights ago,” he continued. “He asked to fight me when I wasn’t fighting, he talked about me. Since he’s all that brave and mentioned my name, I want to see if he really is that brave.”

Ponzinibbio was sidelined for over two years due to multiple health scares that almost ended his career. At the time, Muhammad said the fellow welterweight had been “out for like 25 years, I don’t know how you’re still in the rankings.”

Ponzinibbio lost to Li Jingliang in his return to competition in January, but recently bounced back into the win column to go 8-1 in his past nine. The American Top Team talent now wants to end Muhammad’s six-fight winning streak with a beating.

“It can be on that card,” Ponzinibbio said of Sept. 25’s UFC 266 in Las Vegas, “or we can do a main event, a five-round fight to beat him up a lot so he learns to keep his mouth shut. I think it would be entertaining for the company. I think it’s a good matchup.

“I think it’s a fun fight because of our style. We like to stand and trade, and those are the type of fight that we wanna see like my last fight, a war. His last fight, wow, it was so boring. I was there, watching it live. People want to see blood and punches to the face, and I’ll give them that.”

A win over Muhammad could earn Ponzinibbio a spot in the top 15 of the MMA Fighting Global Rankings and move him one step toward the type of opponent he wants next.

“[Muhammad] is a fight that makes sense,” Ponzinibbio said. “I really wanted to fight someone closer to the top 5 but the guys that are winning won’t want [to fight me]. [Gilbert] Burns, [Leon] Edwards, [Colby] Covington. I wanted to beat them up to go back to the top of the division.”

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