Though Brazil’s Edson Barboza remains one of the world’s very best lightweights, his last two bouts have not gone as he planned. First, Khabib Nurmagomedov bludgeoned him to a unanimous decision victory in December. Then, in April, he experienced a similar loss at the hands of Kevin Lee, who thrashed him to a doctor stoppage.
Despite these concussive losses, throughout which he absorbed nearly 400 strikes, Barboza does not plan on taking any time off. Instead, the fearsome knockout artist hopes to return to the Octagon as soon as possible.
“My plan is to fight again as soon as possible,” Barboza told MMA Fighting this week. “I love what I do and I’m still motivated and hungry to keep training and getting better. I want to fight at least two times more this year.”
“I got hit a lot in the head [in those fights],” Barboza continued, explaining that he’s received similar criticism in the past. “It’s funny that people say I’m a warrior, that I don’t quit, that I can take a beating, and those are the same people that said I have a glass chin after my loss to [Donald] Cerrone. I want to fight as quick as possible. I already trained today and I will come back with everything I have.”
Despite his current losing-streak, Barboza knows he’s still one of the division’s best, and he’s keen to get back out there and prove it soon. He doesn’t care who the opponent is.
“I still am one of the best of the division,” he said. “The division is jammed. I honestly don’t think much has changed. I [took] a few steps back, away from my title shot, but I’m still close, I’m still at the top.”
“I honestly think I can beat anyone in my division,” he continued. “I’m upset with this loss and every other loss I had because I know I could have defeated then all. What other people think doesn’t matter to me. I know I can beat anyone in this division.”
“The ideal scenario is to fight as soon as possible.”
Who do you want to see Edson Barboza fight in his return to the cage?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/3/2018.