Highly touted UFC welterweight prospect Miguel Baeza has spoken up about his loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio.
It has been 79 days since Baeza lost a unanimous decision to Ponzinibbio at UFC Vegas 28 in one of the best fights of 2021. Other than an Instagram story post that Baeza posted just two days after the fight, the 28-year old Florida based fighter has gone silent.
In an exclusive interview with Cageside Press, Baeza (10-1) opened up about his first professional loss.
“I’ve just kind of been focusing on and trying to fix the mistakes I made in the fight, as well as my overall game. There is so much I feel like I can improve one,” Baeza said. “I don’t want to make any excuses, and I don’t want to take anything about from Santiago. He beat me.”
“I feel like I wasn’t fighting to the best of my ability. I went in there half of myself, and that’s on me, no one else to blame. I paid the price for it, and I feel like I let everyone who believed in me down.”
According to “Caramel Thunder,” one of the factors that went into him feeling not all there in June was the dreaded weight cut.
“My weight cut was a big problem. I feel like I did everything wrong leading up until I got into the cage. My body didn’t feel right, and there were some issues. I don’t really want to get into the details because I don’t want to take anything away from what Ponizibbio did,” Baeza said. “The choices that I made resulted in what my body did— and what happened. The biggest issue was the weight cut, and I just didn’t properly take care of my body. I did things during camp that I thought would help me but, in actuality, really hurt me in the long run. These were my mistakes that I made, and it was a tough lesson to learn, but I’m getting more educated on everything.”
While Baeza wouldn’t detail the other health issues, he did say that one was a recurring thing. He said the same heath problem occurred during his Dana White’s Contender Series appearance, where he won his UFC contract. He hopes to take steps in the right direction and correct everything.
Ponzinibbio was compromised in the fight as a result of Baeza’s damaging leg kicks; however, the Argentine fighter was so tough that it threw Baeza off his game.
“I felt he was hurt, and I tried to pour it on him, but the guy just kept coming forward, and it came down to me not being able to deliver my shots and put him down. He kept me on my back foot and made an adjustment. Ponzinibbio is tough as nails,” Baeza said.
His loss to Ponzinibbio was his first loss in the UFC and of his career. Baeza was very disappointed with how it went down.
“It really sucks. It was my first professional loss, and to have it go down the way it did, it was really frustrating. It felt like I had the fight in my hands, and then I just lost that fight, you know. I did it to myself out of ignorance, which really bothers me,” Baeza said. “I have to go back and watch it again and improve. I have to keep learning about the whole game of MMA, not just the fighting aspect. There is a science behind it, and I have to get better— the weight cut, the recovery, training, off days, everything.”
“The loss was tough. I’m still mad at myself, to be honest. I’m not going to say I was mad because I’m still mad. It’s something that I don’t think I will ever truly get over.”
Some fighters say the best way to get over a loss is to fight again quickly, and according to Baeza, he has something in the works.
“We’re working on something now. I can’t say anything, obviously, but it is coming up quickly. Hopefully, everything goes right, and I will get back in there one more time after that. Three times this year would be great,” Baeza finished.