— LORD HONKY HUMUNGUS (@Mr_Honky) December 23, 2017
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Edson Barboza is one of the best strikers in all of MMA. He has arguably the fastest kicks across all divisions. No one can throw a kick quite as effortlessly as he can and we’ve seen them on display many, many times. As evidenced by this very rare footage of a young, 12-year Edson, he started honing his craft early and it has certainly paid off!
Barboza is one of the elites at 155 lbs. He currently sits as the #4 ranked Lightweight in the UFC and is riding a dominant three-fight winning streak. A streak that started after a loss in a crazy fight between him and the current Interim champion, Tony Ferguson. Barboza next takes on the 24-0 unbeaten, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov at UFC 219 next Saturday. The winner of that fight will (presumably) earn a title shot next.
As the only man in the UFC with two wins via leg kick TKO, Barboza has been trying to reach the top of the Lightweight mountain since his UFC journey first began. He has now positioned himself in the perfect spot to try and get to that point. Despite the mess that is the top of the Lightweight division right now, Barboza hasn’t gotten too caught up in the drama and has just continued to fight and prove why he is where he is. The task ahead of him is not an easy one though, Khabib Nurmagomedov is as good as it gets when it comes to the talent stacked Lightweight division. He is a grinding, smothering, relentless pressure wrestler which could spell trouble for Barboza. In two of Barboza’s four losses we saw him lose due to his opponent’s pressure-heavy gameplans. The other two were just more of him getting caught.
Regardless, Barboza is in his prime and his counter strikes are as lethal as ever as evidenced by his most recent outing against Beneil Dariush, who implemented a very successful pressure gameplan on Barboza only to fall victim to one of the nastiest and best well-timed jumping knee strike knockouts that we’ve ever seen. Barboza is truly capable of finding highlight reel finishes at any moment.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/22/2017