Santiago Ponzinibbio is hoping he can fight at least three times in 2020, including a title fight.
Ponzinibbio is riding a seven-fight winning streak with knockout wins over Neil Magny, Gunnar Nelson, and a decision win over Mike Perry. Yet, he has not been able to fight since November of 2018 due to injuries.
He was set to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 245 but a staph infection halted those plans and he says he won’t be able to fight again until a doctor gives him clearance.
“Bacterias are a bit complicated, it really affected my immune system,” Ponzinibbio said to MMA Fighting. “It’s not like a knee injury that needs surgery and then you know how long the recovery will take. This bacteria stuff, it depends a lot. It might last longer in one person. It’s a whole world I didn’t really know. It’s complex.”
When Santiago Ponzinibbio can return is to be seen. But, he makes it clear he will fight three times in 2020 including for the belt. Yet, in order to do that, he will need to fight again and get back into the rankings.
For who his return opponent will be is to be decided. But, if he had his way he would be fighting Kamaru Usman.
“If I could choose, I’d fight the champion tomorrow, [Kamaru] Usman, or a top-5, but there are no options in the top-5,” Ponzinibbio said. “Tyron [Woodley] will fight [Leon] Edwards in March, so a fight [against the winner] wouldn’t happen until June or July. [Colby] Covington just broke his jaw and can’t fight.
“[Jorge] Masvidal is seeking other fights, taking about the belt or Conor [McGregor]. Demian [Maia] already has a fight. Michael Chiesa is an option, he just fought and won, and did a good fight with [Rafael] dos Anjos. And there’s Lawler. It’s a matter of availability, too.”
For now, Santiago Ponzinibbio continues to be on the sidelines waiting for the doctor to give him clearance so he can fight again.