Raphael Assuncao desperately wants to prove he deserves a shot at the UFC bantamweight title. So much so, in fact, that he’s willing to run it back with a top contender he has already defeated. Assuncao is currently on a four-fight win streak. He has picked up victories over the likes of Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes, Mathew Lopez, and Rob Font.
However, there’s another man who is making a heavy case for a bantamweight title opportunity. That man is Moraes, who is on a three-fight win streak since his split decision defeat to Assuncao. Moraes has defeated John Dodson, Aljamain Sterling, and Jimmie Rivera, turning the heads of mixed martial arts (MMA) fans in the process. His latter two victories have come by way of vicious first-round knockout.
Moraes has made a heavy case for a bantamweight title shot, but champion TJ Dillashaw is occupied at the moment. He’ll challenge Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title on the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card in January. In the meantime, that gives Assuncao and Moraes the opportunity to fight it out to determine the number one contender should they choose to do so.
As he tells Combate in a recent interview, that’s exactly what he’d like to see happen:
“I have to beat Marlon again,” Assuncao said. “Then I’ll literally be on wait for the title shot. But I have a tough opponent ahead of me, just like it was in 2017, but I’ll be super well trained.
“We intend to do the same thing we did in 2017, only better. I’m in search of this win so I can be at peace with myself and rest assured that I won’t have to do anything else. I’ll just sit on the couch and wait for the boss to call.”
What do you think of Assuncao’s call for a Marlon Moraes rematch?