RDA Explains Why He Won’t Fight Santiago Ponzinibbio In Argentina

Perry Nelson for USA TODAY Sports
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Rafael dos Anjos doesn’t want to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio in Argentina right now.

The former UFC lightweight champion comes off an interim welterweight title loss to Colby Covington. The locations of his last few fights have left him frustrated. The Brazilian has fought in countries such as Canada, Singapore, and Mexico in the past two years.

He had his first fight in two years back in the United States in June against Covington. “RDA” is more than willing to get back into the cage but on his terms. Dos Anjos told MMA Junkie his wife is currently pregnant with their third child.

She is expected to give birth next month. As a result, “RDA” would like to remain relatively close to home:

“I don’t care who I fight, but I just don’t want to leave my family,” dos Anjos said. “I think my family is first, I can’t leave a young kid with my wife alone here.

“She’s going to get a C-section, so she’s going to need help. I’m the man. I need to be here supporting my wife and my family. That’s my job, and I’m not going to leave my family to fight in another country and fight far away from home.”

Recently, “RDA” was called out by welterweight prospect Santiago Ponzinibbio to a fight in his backyard of Argentina. When dos Anjos was called and offered the fight with Ponzinibbio in Argentina by matchmaker Sean Shelby, the Brazilian had to draw the line:

“When (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby called me to offer that fight, my first question was, ‘Where?’ I didn’t even ask him who I’m going to be fighting,” dos Anjos said.

“He goes, ‘Argentina.’ I said, ‘Sean, last year I fought two times in Canada, I fought in Singapore, and one time here in the U.S. I want to stay around, especially on that date – not because it’s Santiago Ponzinibbio.”

Dos Anjos believes Ponzinibbio is drumming up drama. He simply doesn’t want to take a long flight due to the birth of his child:

“(Ponzinibbio is) making a big drama saying that I’m afraid to fight him in Argentina. No, I’m not afraid. I told him to come to my gym – we’ll fight here. We’ll fight in Las Vegas.

“I’m not afraid of that guy. I just don’t want to take an 18-hour flight. Even in Brazil – I don’t want to fight in Brazil. It’s too far. I don’t want to take a 15- or 16-hour flight to leave my family for that long. I want to fight in the U.S. That’s what I said.”