Raphael Assuncao was in attendance Saturday night at UFC 173, as he likely expected to see his fellow Brazilian – Renan Barao – cruise to another victory.
Instead, Assuncao saw T.J. Dillashaw dominate Barao and become the new UFC bantamweight champion.
The fight was originally set to be Assuncao’s, as he defeated Dillashaw via split decision last year in Brazil. A rib injury, though, kept him from accepting the championship match.
“I think in another eight weeks, I should be completely healed,” Assuncao told MMAjunkie.com.
Assuncao (22-4) is 6-1 inside the Octagon, including five consecutive wins. He defeated Pedro Munhoz this past February after the Dillashaw win last October.
Since a 2011 loss to Erik Koch, he’s topped Johnny Eduardo, Issei Tamura, Mike Easton and Vaughan Lee, with two of those coming by finishes.
In seeing what Dillashaw did to defeat Barao, Assuncao stated that was what he had in mind, adding, “It was a similar strategy. Me and T.J. already fought and I would love to fight him again.”