Raphael Assuncao may not have blown TJ Dillashaw away at UFC Fight Night 29, and some folks may have had the latter winning, but with the split decision win the bantamweight locked up the promotion’s #4 ranking. Not only that, but when you factor in that interim champ Renan Barao has already defeated #2 ranked Urijah Faber, #3 Michael McDonald and #5 Eddie Wineland, Assuncao has to be pretty, pretty close to a title shot.
While speaking to the media recently in Brazil, here’s what Assuncao had to say about his title shot prospects, depending of course, on what happens with champion Dominick Cruz (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“I’ll wait and see what happens,” Assuncao said. “Barao deserves to fight Dominick Cruz to settle this. There’s another semifinal between Urjiah Faber and Michael McDonald to happen. I don’t know what happens next, but I have done enough.”
“They both lost to Barao already,” he said. “I respect Barao a lot, but I have a different style to fight him.”
Barao has already made it clear that he wants to fight Cruz next, and that’s the fight the UFC and nearly everyone in the MMA world wants to see. If “The Dominator” isn’t ready to go, however, one would think Assuncao will be the man to face Barao next (who likely would be the official champ at that juncture).
Cruz hasn’t fought now since October, 2011, due to two knee surgeries, and likely will be stripped of the title if he’s not ready to go in early 2014. Hopefully we find out soon what’s next.
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