Elizeu Zaleski can’t help but wonder if the UFC’s welterweight division is scared to lose to him.
Zaleski (21-5) has gone undefeated in seven straight fights since losing his UFC debut via split decision to Nicolas Dalby. Since that loss, he has registered three Fight of the Night bonuses and finished his last three fights in 6:20 or less.
“I’m doing my part, which is getting ready and putting on a good streak in the promotion. I hope I’m always doing my best. It’s on the company now to book those fights,” he told reporters at UFC 237, per MMA Fighting. “I’m ready, and I want to fight someone ranked, for sure. I hope (to fight) someone closer to the top 5.”
Zaleski currently sits at number 14 in the 170-pound division but he has no idea who his next opponent will be. “They get to a point that they get comfortable, when they are in the ranking, and they don’t want to fight, they just want to guarantee (their spots). We have to fight, things have to move in this division, which is a stacked division,” he shared. ”If you’re not going to fight, get out. Go do something else, I don’t know. A fighter has to fight.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian threw his name into the mix of welterweights to step-in for Tyron Woodley against Robbie Lawler at UFC Minneapolis. The promotion decided, however, to scrap that fight entirely.
Looking at the rest of the welterweight top 15, there are very few immediate options available to Zaleski, who is eyeing a July or August return to the Octagon. “I think an interesting fight would be against Leon Edwards, who’s also coming off seven straight wins and is anxious to fight,” Zaleski said. “Why don’t we meet there to see who gets the eighth straight victory?”
A more unlikely candidate might be Colby Covington, who is most likely next in line for a shot at Kamaru Usman’s title. “There’s also Colby, who only talks, talks and talks, but never fights,” he added. “I think that’s also an interesting fight. I’d go out there to fight him, since he’s scared to come fight in Brazil. He says a bunch of stuff and now is scared to come fight here. We can make that fight. That’s also an interesting one.”
Zaleski is coming off of a first-round rear-naked choke win over Curtis Millender at UFC Wichita. Other ranked welterweights to consider are Santiago Ponzinibbio, Stephen Thompson or Vicente Luque.