Dan Ige was ecstatic when he got the offer to welcome Edson Barboza to the featherweight division.
On Saturday, Ige will battle Barboza on the main card in a very interesting fight. For the Hawaiian in Ige, he knows the stakes are high for this one.
“It was super crazy, obviously a short notice fight against one of the biggest names in the sport. Edson’s been a top-10 guy for probably like 10 years. He’s fought the best of the best and when they called me to fight Edson it was the best offer they could give me,” Ige said to BJPENN.com. “Obviously, we all want to fight ranked guys, and Edson isn’t ranked. But, this is better than a top-10 opponent given his career and what he’s done. He’s one of the best fighters in the world. That is my goal and dream.”
Although Ige is excited about the matchup, there is a worry for some on whether or not his Brazilian oppoonent will make weight. For the Hawaiian, he says he can’t focus on that, and even if Barboza misses, the fight will still happen.
“Not really, he has been getting ready for featherweight for a long time now,” he said. “I do wonder where he will take that extra 10 pounds from, which is a lot. I’m not worried about it because I need to make weight. If he misses, I’ll get some extra money in my pocket.”
Entering this fight, Ige is a slight underdog which he isn’t paying any attention to. He knows it will be a tough scrap to win but the Xtreme Couture product is confident in his game plan.
For Ige, he knows he can’t stand in range or Barboza will beat him up, as he did to Dan Hooker. So, he says he needs to make it a dirty boxing fight and mix in his wrestling.
“I’m going to go out and strike with him. But, this is MMA, I have to mix it up. If I just go out there and shoot, I’m not going to take him down, he’s fast and has good hips and isn’t easy to takedown. But, there are ways to get him down and that’s to set it up using my striking,” Ige explained. “So, I’m just going to mix it up. He’s really dangerous so I can’t give him space, especially at kicking range. But, at boxing range, I believe I have more power, so I have to be at that range. I’m excited, it will be an exciting fight.”
Ultimately, not only is Ige confident he will get his hand raised but he expects to knockout Barboza.
“I think I can stop him. I believe that every fight. He’s been stopped before and he’s been in wars and taken a lot of punishment,” he said. “Khabib couldn’t finish him. He’s not easy to put away, so I’m planning to shut his lights out.”
Should Dan Ige get a knockout win over Edson Barboza he knows that should get him a top-10 opponent at featherweight. So, the Hawaiian says if he’s going to reach his goal of being a champion in 2021, this is a crucial fight to win.
“That’s why I’m fighting, I’m taking advantage of it. I have goals and I don’t want to let this pandemic hold me back,” he said. “This is my time to get ahead and to get a win over Edson puts me in the mix. I don’t think it will put me in the top-10 but I think I will get a top-10 opponent if I go out there and put on a dominant performance
“One or two wins in the top-10 puts me in the mix for a title shot. I believe I beat any guy in the top-15, not saying I can’t be beaten, because I have before, I just see it,” Ige concluded. “I see the belt around my waist in 2021.”
Do you think Dan Ige will be able to knock out Edson Barboza as he says?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/12/2020.