Although Santiago Ponzinibbio is riding a seven-fight winning streak, he’s fighting to get back into the top 15 of the welterweight rankings, ahead of UFC Fight Island 7. Not surprisingly, the dangerous and established fighter isn’t too pleased about that fact.
Image Credit: UFC / YouTube
Ponzinibbio trashes the UFC’s rankings
The 34-year-old is scheduled to fight Li Jingliang at the January 16th card. Originally, Ponzinibbio was booked to fight Muslim Salikhov, but the latter withdrew on account of complications stemming from COVID-19.
The bout will mark the first time Ponzinibbio has fought since November 2018, when he KO’d Neil Magny. Since the Argentine fighter hasn’t fought in over two years, he’s no longer ranked in the top 15.
While talking to BJ Penn.com recently, Ponzinibbio made it clear he isn’t happy, at all, with that situation.
“They removed me (from the rankings). Brian Ortega fought three weeks after me and he’s still in the rankings and he was in the main event (against The Korean Zombie).
I asked, why is he in the rankings despite the inactivity? Why does he get a main event, and me (an unranked opponent in Jingliang)?”
“Listen, I love Brian Ortega. I think he deserves it, he showed to the world he deserves it, he beat a guy and hopefully he becomes a champion.
I don’t have anything against him. It’s just our situation’s very similar.
For this reason, I repeat, I think the rankings are bullsh*t. I go inside my cage and do my work. That’s it.
I represent my culture and my people from Argentina and from Latin American and I put a show inside the cage, man.”
If you need a refresher, Ortega faced Chan Sung Jung this past November, and recorded a decision win. That bout marked the first time the featherweight contender had fought since December, 2018.
You can’t blame Ponzinibbio for being frustrated, and he’s certainly not the first person to light up the UFC rankings.
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It would be one thing if there was a consistent policy that’s applied to the rankings, in terms of removing inactive fighters. But there doesn’t seem to be.
Further, it is unfortunate, from Ponzinibbio’s perspective, that he’s returning to a fight with an unranked fighter. After all, not only has he won seven in a row, he’s defeated the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Magny during that stretch.
On January 20th, Magny is headlining UFC Fight Island 8 in a fight with Michael Chiesa.