Barboza Ready For a Fresh Start At Featherweight
A lightweight since 2009, Edson Barboza has faced some of the top fighters within the division. The 34-year-old, however, has never received a title opportunity while in the UFC. With a stacked division seemingly keeping him in place, Barboza (20-8) is ready to spice things up a bit.
Barboza is set to face off against Dan Ige in a featherweight bout on May 16. On the main card of UFC on ESPN 8 from inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Barboza is interested in facing high-profile opponents. He told MMA Junkie during media day that he believes he wasn’t getting the opportunities he deserved in the lightweight division.
“I dropped because I’ve worked for the UFC for almost 10 years and I really need a new challenge for my career and for myself,” Barboza stated. “I made a choice together with my team, and I think that’s the best choice drop from 155 to 145 for new challenges – a new challenge, and fight some new guys.
Joining the UFC in 2010, Barboza is 14-8 with the promotion. He has faced top-ranked fighters in the division, including Donald Cerrone, Paul Felder, Tony Ferguson, Anthony Pettis, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dan Hooker, and Kevin Lee. In two bouts in 2019, Barboza lost to Justin Gaethje via knockout and Paul Felder via split decision. The latter bout was in September.
Facing the very best, Barboza is looking to enter a stacked division that includes threats like Chan Sung Jung, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, and Calvin Kattar.
“I don’t fight the other guys at 155 because they say no to fight me at 155. I’m always hoping to fight everybody at 155 in the top 10, but it’s hard to fight the people at 155 because I’ve fought most of those guys,” Barboza continued. “At 145, it’s new (and) I’ve fought nobody at 145, so I’m very excited. I feel it’s a new beginning for me.”
1-4 in his last five bouts, Barboza faces a man on a five-fight win streak in Ige (13-2). Currently ranked 15th in the UFC’s featherweight rankings, Ige may every well be the perfect opponent for a newly-motivated Barboza.