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Santiago Ponzinibbio is one of the most experienced and skilled fighters in the UFC's welterweight division today, but despite his long tenure, the Argentine is confident that his illustrious career is worth several more chapters.

The 36-fight veteran, who has competed in the UFC since 2013, believes fans will see a new version of himself when he returns on 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 from Ball Arena in Denver.

Ponzinibbio assures that he is neither close to retirement nor finished with his development, and he intends to prove it to the MMA world.

“No, not at all,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Junkie in Spanish when asked about a possible retirement. “It's true that I'm in a phase where you can see the end much closer than a few years ago. Before, I just saw it as something that was so far away because I always felt good, so that day just seemed like it could never come. I'm closer to that day now, but I still feel like there's a lot left. I still have a lot to give and a lot of runway ahead of me.

“I feel great and I have what it takes to beat the best in the division. If I can come in there and put on a good performance without any health issues or problems like I had in some of my previous fights, because for various reasons I wasn't able to perform at my best technically. I've won some fights with my heart recently, but not with my technique. I think during this time off I was able to address some issues and I think people will see a new version of Santiago Ponzinibbio where I'm 100 percent and showing that I'm capable of competing at a high level. So, honestly, retirement is not something that crosses my mind.”

Ponzinibbio, 37, expects to keep fighting for quite some time, although he has not given a timeframe for when he would like to retire from the sport. His sole focus is to defeat Salikhov this Saturday and continue to climb the welterweight division.

“I'm here for a while. I'm not thinking about quitting,” said Ponzinibbio. “But what's on my mind is a spectacular win in this co-main event fight and a quick comeback so I can continue to climb up the division.”

“I know that if I perform 100 percent, I can beat anyone in the 170-pound class. I'm not saying that to sound arrogant. I just have confidence in my work and what I see in the gym every day. I'm happy and confident about this opportunity and I'm in good shape.”

For more information 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 Danny Segura of MMA Junkie.

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

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