LAS VEGAS – While it may not have ended in emphatic fashion, Aleksandar Rakic did pick up his second straight win over a former UFC title challenger and believes it’s time to put some respect on his name.

Rakic (14-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) was awarded a unanimous decision over Thiago Santos (21-9 MMA, 13-8 UFC) at this past Saturday’s UFC 259 event at the UFC Apex in a contest that wasn’t exactly thrilling but did see the Austrian light heavyweight in firm control for nearly the entirety.

“I’m happy.” Rakic told reporters, including MMA Junkie, following the win. “I was dominant. I won all three rounds. I kept the pace. I pushed forward. I led the fight. I went the distance. I controlled the center. I controlled the clinching, and I hit him with some hard kicks, one high kick, couple of punches, so a dominant performance, and I’m happy about my performance.”

For the record, only one judge gave Rakic all three rounds, while two gave him just the first two rounds. But to be clear, it seemed only because Rakic cruised in the third and never really felt to be in danger.

It was a bout that took place entirely on the feet, and Rakic said that was by design.

“We know Thiago is a striker, so we said OK, let’s strike with this guy, and let’s dominate him,” Rakic said. “Basically, I like to dominate guys where they are the strongest.”

Add in a dominant win over Anthony Smith this past August, and that’s not back-to-back victories over former title challengers. The fight before that was a razor-thin split-decision loss to another former title challenger in Volkan Oezdemir.

At just 29, Rakic believes he’s reaching his athletic prime, and he insists his skills are improving at an exponential rate.

“I’m the type of guy improving every day,” Rakic said. “I’m training all my skills every day, and I’m improving like I cannot explain. You need to follow me for like a month and see. I have the best coaches in my corner.”

And with it all coming together, Rakic said he told UFC president Dana White to give him the chance that he deserves and help him reach his goal of a UFC title.

“I told him that I am the new face of the light heavyweight division,” Rakic said. “I am young, I am hungry, I fight well. I have a good record, and I am representing the sport the best way. I’m a good guy. Let’s see what the UFC decides.”