Edson Barboza earned his first knockout victory since moving to the featherweight division at UFC 262, stopping Shane Burgos in the third round, and wants a crack at the elite of the 145-pound class going forward.
After back-to-back wins over Makwan Amirkhani and Burgos inside the Octagon – and a controversial split decision loss to Dan Ige in 2020 – Barboza is hopeful his next opponent will be ranked in the UFC’s top five.
“I wanna fight a top 5 man,” Barboza said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I think I deserve to fight in the top 5 given my history in the UFC. What motivates me to call up a top 5 opponent is knowing that it will be a great fight.
Barboza is currently in 9th place in the official UFC rankings after UFC 262 in Houston, and is planning “wars” with Calvin Kattar, “The Korean Zombie” or Yair Rodriguez. Former champion Max Holloway, ranked No.1 today, also doesn’t have a fight booked at the moment.
“I love to fight against the best,” he said. “Can you imagine a fight between Max Holloway and me?” I am a big fan of Holloway, I love his fights, he is one of my favorite fighters. That would be great, man.
Holloway was last seen in the Octagon in January, when he put on a flawless performance against Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Barboza is currently aiming to return to action in August and is wondering if the former Featherweight King is ready to dance in the cage.
“Honestly, I don’t know if he wants to stay active or wait for the belt,” Barboza said of Holloway, “but it would be a pleasure to fight him.”
“Blessed” came out as the top boxer in the UFC during and after his fight against Kattar earlier this year, and Barboza, a Muay Thai specialist with devastating kicks, would love this match. Barboza wouldn’t call Holloway the best boxer of the promotion but “he’s one of the best, without a doubt.”
“It would be a war,” Barboza said. “Imagine five rounds of brawl. We would definitely break in there, just like [my] last fight, and it would be a great fight. I wish it was over soon so I could go back to my room and watch it. I’m sure it would be a war.
“He’s the best in this division. He’s not the champion, but he continues to be the best in this division. I think he won his last fight [against Volkanovski]. The first was close, you could have given it to Volkanovski, okay, but I think he won the second.
Regardless of his opponent, the American Top Team product considers himself a better athlete today compared to his light days since he doesn’t need to stay too heavy to compete at 155 pounds. The cut to 145 pounds is just as rough as his previous ones for 155, Barboza said, but his diet has changed a bit.
“I think I’m more motivated than lightweight,” said Barboza. “Many years there, fights there, I was just fighting, making my money and that’s it, you know?” When I switched to featherweight, I felt extra motivation, a new start. “
“It’s easier because I don’t have to kill myself during camp. I train too much and I’m skinny, I lose weight too easily, so I had to eat bacon every day and pasta every night to keep my weight off. I am healthier now, I eat healthy foods all the time now. [I don’t miss bacon] because I had to eat it every day. This is the problem. I can still eat if I want, but I don’t have to, you know?