Edson Barboza is set for the first rematch of his career when he takes on Paul Felder in the co-main event of UFC 242 this weekend. The two first fought back at UFC on FOX 16 in 2015, when Barboza won by decision. The fight was honored as the Fight of the Night.
Now, however, when the two step back into the Octagon, Barboza, who is from Brazil and trains at American Top Team, is not looking for another Fight of the Night.
That said, he knows their two styles could lead to a Fight of the Night winning brawl.
“I really don’t want a Fight of the Night like last time. Every time you are the Fight of the Night, you and your opponent take a lot of damage,” Barboza told BJPENN.com. “I like performance [bonuses] better because it means you probably didn’t take as much damage. So, Fight of the Nights are hard on the body so I don’t want it. If this fight goes the distance though, it probably will be the Fight of the Night.
Entering this fight, Edson Barboza is coming off of a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje, while Paul Felder returned to the win column last time out when he beat James Vick earlier this year. Yet, the Brazilian knows if he fights to his full potential he will win this fight — even though he knows the American has gotten better.
“I always just focus on myself because I know at my best I can beat anyone in the world. Even though it is a rematch it is much different,” Edson Barboza explained. “We are both much different fighters now, and I just focus on myself. If I fight at my best, I know I win this fight.
“I watched his last fight, he looks better than our first fight. We are both better. But, look who I have fought since then,” he continued. “I fought Khabib [Nurmagomedov], [Anthony] Pettis, [Tony] Ferguson, I test myself and I know I am better. He beat a few guys, but I really tested myself. This fight will be a great fight.”
After losing his last fight to Gaethje in the first round, Barboza knows he has to win this fight, especially if he wants to keep his spot in the rankings.
“Yeah, it is huge. I know I am one of the best in the world. Look, I can beat anyone in the world on any given day. I train so hard for this fight,” Barboza explained. “I know if I win this fight, it puts me closer to the top. My goal is to get the belt and a win here gets me in the right direction. But, if you see in the rankings, most of the time I have to fight the guys behind him. Guys in front of me don’t want to fight me, and that is the truth. I call out guys in front of me, but they never want to fight. If I win, only six guys in front of me, if I win this, my next fight puts me closer to the top.”
Whatever the case, Edson Barboza is confident he’ll once again leave the Octagon with his hand raised.
“It is an MMA fight. I always train everything, but my kicks and striking are a huge part of my game,” Barboza concluded. “But, wherever this fight goes, I’m ready. I’m going to win, that is it. However it comes I will take it, that is my goal and vision. I am going to Abu Dhabi to win, that is it. That simple.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/2/2019.