Santiago Ponzinibbio not contemplating retirement ahead of UFC on ESPN 59: 'I have a lot left to give'


Santiago Ponzinibbio stands today as one of the most seasoned and experienced fighters in the UFC welterweight division. Yet, despite his long tenure, the Argentine is confident he’s got a few more chapters to his storied career.

The 36-fight veteran, who’s been competing in the UFC since 2013, believes fans will witness a new version of himself in his return Saturday. Ponzinibbio (29-7 MMA, 11-6 UFC) takes on Muslim Salikhov (19-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 59 at Ball Arena in Denver.

Ponzinibbio assures he’s not close to retirement and not done evolving, and he intends to prove that to the MMA world.

“No, not at all,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Junkie in Spanish when asked about a potential retirement. “It’s true that I’m at a stage where you can see the end much closer than some years back. I used to just see it as something that’s so far because I always felt good, so that day just seemed like it would never come. I am closer to that day now, but I still feel I have a lot left. I have a lot left to give, and there is plenty of runway ahead.

“I feel great, and I have the abilities to beat the best in the division. If I get in there, and I’m able to perform well without any health issues or problems like some of my previous fights, because due to different reasons I wasn’t able to perform at my best technically. I’ve won some recent fights with my heart but not with my technique. I think during this time off I was able to address a few issues, and I think people will see a new version of Santiago Ponzinibbio where I’ll perform 100 percent and show I’m capable of competing at a high level. So to tell you the truth, retirement is not something that crosses my mind.”

Ponzinibbio, 37, expects to be fighting for quite some time, although he didn’t give a timeframe as to when he’d ideally like to walk away from the sport. His sole focus is on defeating Salikhov this Saturday and keep climbing the welterweight mountain.

“I’m here for a while longer. Retirement is not something that crosses my mind.” Ponzinibbio said. “What does cross my mind is winning in spectacular fashion in this co-main event bout and making a quick return, so I can keep climbing up the division.

“I know if I’m able to perform 100 percent, I can beat anyone at 170 pounds. I don’t say this to be arrogant. I just have confidence in my work and what I see in the gym every day. I’m happy and confident with this opportunity, and I’m in a good moment.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 59.

Check out the Hablemos MMA YouTube channel for Spanish-language videos and interviews with MMA Junkie's Danny Segura.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.


Related Posts