Las Vegas, Nevada — Light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Rakic came away from UFC 259 with the win he wanted.
Rakic (14-2) went three rounds with Brazil’s Thiago Santos. It was not the barn-burner fans expected, with Rakic instead controlling the range and avoiding the Brazilian’s powerful strikes.
The question now is, was it enough to earn him a shot at the title? “I hope so,” said Rakic. Speaking at the UFC 259 post-fight press conference, Rakic revealed that he’d told Dana White after the fight that “I’m the new face of the light heavyweight division.”
“I’m young, I’m hungry, I fight well, I have a good record, and I’m representing the sport the best way. I’m a good guy, added Rakic. In terms of his resume, “Thiago is the third former title challenger in a row for me.”
He might have to wait his turn, as Glover Teixeira has the next title fight locked up it seems. But if that’s the case, Rakic is willing to be patient. “I’m going to wait for my shot.”
Of course, the waiting could take a while. When Rakic spoke to reporters Saturday, it was prior to the Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya main event. Asked how long he was willing to sit, the Austrian replied “I don’t know. Let’s see how the main event fight goes. If Adesanya wins, we need to see when he wants to come to the light heavyweight division.” Adesanya, however, didn’t win, simplifying the title picture at 205lbs.
“If Jan wins, then the UFC needs to decide what’s next,” Rakic continued. But he had one warning for the division. “The longer they wait, it’s not good for them. Because I’m a talented guy improving every day. I’m training all my skills every day. And I’m improving like I cannot explain. You would have to follow me one month to see. I have the best coaches in my corner.”
Watch the full UFC 259 post-fight press conference with Aleksandar Rakic above.