Off the back of his Fight of the Night accolade earning performance at UFC 262 last weekend against Shane Burgos, Octagon veteran, Edson Barboza has called for a headlining bout against former featherweight champion, Max Holloway in his next appearance at featherweight.
2-1 at 145lbs since his move to the ranks back in April of last year, the Nova Friburgo-born Muay Thai extraordinaire opened up the main card of UFC 262 last weekend, scoring an eventual third round knockout win over Shane Burgos — in quite peculiar circumstances. The contest earned the two a special once-off $75,000 post-fight bonus for their Fight of the Night efforts.
Off the back of the win, the American Top Team trainee entered the top ten of the UFC’s official featherweight rankings — replacing Bronx native, Burgos at #9.
The 35-year-old Brazilian added Burgos to a prior win over Makwan Amirkhani at UFC Fight Island 5 last October and plans to shoot his way through the rankings in the form of a headlining tilt against former champion, Holloway, as well as throwing his name into the hat for pairings against Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, Chan Sung Jung, and Zabit Magomedsharipov.
“You can see the top five guys: Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit (Magomedsharipov), ‘Korean (Zombie)’, Max Holloway,” Barboza said during a recent interview on MMA Junkie Radio. “That’s a main event. That’s a pay-per-view fight, for sure. (The) UFC always gives me a chance to fight the best guys at 155(lbs). I hope they give me the chance to fight the best guys at 145(lbs).“
Whilst throwing his name into the hat to face any combination of the above-mentioned quintet, Barboza’s interest appears to be piqued by the possibility of a pairing against Hawaiian fan favourite striker, Holloway.
“Make a fight, me and Holloway, five rounds, that would be crazy,” Barboza explained. “That would be (one where) one-hundred per cent (of) people would love this fight. Me against Kattar, me against Rodriguez. I really believe I really deserve a top-five guy because my last two fights — I beat (Dan) Ige, (who) was a top ten. Now I beat (Shane) Burgos, he’s a top ten. I believe all my history with my performances, I really deserve a top-five (opponent) next.“
Whilst failing to actually find himself in the winner’s enclosure against Ige at his featherweight debut back in April of last year at UFC Fight Night Jacksonville, many have argued that Barboza should have been awarded the decision win instead after a close back-and-forth.
In regards to a potential return date, the long-time Octagon mainstay has suggested a return as soon as August 27th. after he takes a week away from training following his stoppage win over Burgos.
“I think I saw a card on the (sic) August 27th. or something like that,” Barboza said. “That’s going to be perfect. Rest this week, (then get) back to training next week. End of August (is) going to be perfect to get back to fight.“