Challenge accepted, says Santiago Ponzinibbio.
The veteran UFC welterweight has issued his response to Bryan Barberena’s recent callout on The MMA Hour. Barberena (18-8 MMA, 9-6 UFC) is fresh off a TKO win over former champion Robbie Lawler and made it clear he wants to fight Ponzinibbio (28-6 MMA, 10-5 UFC) next.
But the callout wasn’t spontaneous. It was actually something that stemmed from Saturday night at UFC 276 in Las Vegas – a card Ponzinibbio was working as color commentator for UFC’s Spanish broadcast.
“I found it funny with Barberena because I was working the live event and I had Barberena’s corner next to me, so when I turn around, his trainer began challenging me,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I told him, ‘congrats,’ and he said, ‘Hey, you’re next. You’re next.’ I said, ‘Ok, let’s do the fight.’
“I have no problem fighting Barberena. Let’s make that fight. So I kept commentating, and he was there while they were interviewing Barberena, and he kept looking at me and saying, ‘We’re going to do the fight.’ I said, ‘Ok, let’s go.’”
Both Ponzinibbio and Barberena are two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC’s welterweight division. They have a total of 10 combined Fight Night bonuses. Ponzinibbio has clocked in two Fight of the Night bonuses in his past three bouts, while Barberena has picked up three in his last four outings.
The Argentine very much respects Barberena’s style and strongly thinks it would be a treat for the fans.
“I like Barberena,” Ponzinibbio said. “I think he’s a very straight forward fighter, who makes good fights given his style. I think styles make fights and his style plus mine, we’d make for a good fight. I have no problem. If it was up to me, the sooner, the better. That way I can do two more fights this year. This one at the start of September and then another one at the end of December.”