Fresh from his third-round TKO win over Shane Burgos on the UFC 262 main card, perennial contender Edson Barboza publicly revealed his desire to face one of the big guns at 145lbs next, preferably in late August or early September.
Barboza emerges after engrossing battle
Barboza (22-9 MMA, 16-9 UFC) enjoyed an entertaining clash last weekend before applying the finishing touches after a delayed response to one of his punch combinations saw Burgos stagger back against the fence.
The Brazilian gladly seized his #9 ranking as a result, and believes he should be rewarded for his decade-long success with the promotion by being granted another top contender to topple later this year.
During an interview with MMAJunkie Radio, he discussed his career reinvention after dropping down from lightweight and had some names in mind, including forrner champion Max Holloway (#1).
“You can see the top five guys: Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit [Magomedsharipov], Korean [Zombie], Max Holloway. That’s a main event, a pay-per-view fight, for sure.
UFC always gives me a chance to fight the best guys at 155. I hope they give me the chance to fight the best at 145.”
Of the names mentioned above, only The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung has a fight booked, in a main event headliner against Dan Ige on June 19.
The 35-year-old stressed his flexibility surrounding the situation, while also naming Holloway as his ideal pick.
“Make a fight [between] me and Holloway, five rounds, that would be crazy. That would be [one where] 100% people would love this fight.
Me against Kattar, Rodriguez… I really believe I deserve a top-five guy because my last two fights – I beat Ige, top-10. Now, I beat Burgos [also top-10]. I believe all my history with my performances, I really deserve a top-five next.”
He lost on his featherweight debut via a disputed split decision against Ige last May on the Overeem-Harris card, having previously suffered contrasting lightweight losses to Paul Felder (#9) and Justin Gaethje (#1) beforehand.
His Octagon resume is impressive and features multiple champions or former interim titlists, including: Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Anthony Pettis and unbeaten retired 155lb king Khabib Nurmagomedov.
After claiming UFC 262’s Fight of the Night bonus, Barboza said he’ll take this week off training before returning to work at American Top Team. He’s hopeful for a relatively quick turnaround too, all things considered.
“I think I saw a card on the Aug. 27 or something like that, that’s going to be perfect to get back to fight.”
Pictures and quotes via MMAJunkie