Top bantamweight prospect Francisco Rivera has broke his hand and is out of his upcoming fight with Raphael Assuncao at UFC 170.
But 31-year old Assuncao hopes Rivera’s injury will work out positive for him. The Brazilian told MMAFighting.com that he hopes he can now get the next shot against bantamweight champion Renan Barão.
“I want my shot against Barao,” Assuncao said. “I’m the only undefeated bantamweight that hasn’t fought for the title yet. I’m the No. 3 in the division. I’ll ask the boss for this fight.”
With Barão having already beaten the no. 1, no.2 and no.4 ranked fighters in the division, and the former champ Dominick Cruz still sidelined with injury, Assuncao believes he is the most suitable challenger for the champ.
“Dominick (Cruz) is hurt.” Assuncao said. “Urijah (Faber), Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald already fought Barao, and I can do a different fight with him.”
Assuncao may have a point. Unless Barão is planning on fighting the divisions former champ Cruz on his return, the UFC will most likely book him against Assuncao. They could opt to book the champ for a immediate rematch with Faber but it’s unlikely with Barão having best “The California Kid” twice now.
A rematch with Wineland is another possibility for the UFC, Barão previously fought the former WEC champion at UFC 165. Wineland had success early on in the fight, arguably winning the first round, but Barão won picking up another controversial stoppage; similar to the one we seen Saturday night.
However, given his current record and who Barão has already beaten, it would be hard to argue against Assuncao getting the next shot at the bantamweight title. Assuncao is currently on a five-fight win streak since dropping to 135 pounds, which includes wins over the likes of Mike Easton and T.J Dillanshaw.
If he does get the next crack at Barão, do you think Assuncao could be a threat to the champ?