Edson Barboza has been a perennial lightweight contender for years but on Saturday, he will make the move down to 145 pounds to take on Dan Ige.
When Barboza announced he was going to make the move to featherweight, it was surprising for some. Yet, for the Brazilian, he says he needs some new challenges, and fighting at 145 pounds gives him that opportunity.
“To challenge myself. I have fought most of the guys at 155, and I sat down with my team and we decided to try and cut down to 145,” Barboza said to BJPENN.com. “Why not? That’s why so I can challenge myself and why not?”
There will no doubt be many interesting style matchups for Barboza at featherweight. Before the Ige fight was official, it was reported he would battle Josh Emmett, yet the Brazilian doesn’t know why that never happened.
So, Barboza has turned his attention to Ige, who he knows is a tough guy. But, the Brazilian is confident he’ll get his hand raised and snap his two-fight losing skid.
“I’m still in the ranks at 155 and I’m one of the best in the world. I wanted to test myself against the top guys of 145,” he explained. “He’s a tough guy, one of the best. I’ve watched his last couple of fights. He’s in the rankings for a reason. I will win this fight, that’s it.”
Although Edson Barboza is confident he will get his hand raised, many are wondering how the weight cut will be for him. The 34-year-old said he made 145 pounds when he was a kickboxer so he’s confident he’ll make the weight, but says it won’t be easy to do.
Instead, Barboza says he’s been dieting down weeks before to get his weight low so he doesn’t have to cut much weight during fight week.
“Mentally, it is a lot of work to cut weight. I have fought for my whole life, I know I can make it, it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “I always make weight, it won’t be easy but I will do my best to make this fight. I really prepare myself mentally for the weight cuts.”
For Barboza, he knows this will be a big test for him. He’s confident that he is the better striker and believes he will have the size advantage.
Barboza’s best chance for success comes in the standup, which he knows will be the opposite of what Ige wants to do.
“I think he may strike with me but he believes he has the ground advantage. I think Ige won’t try to fight at a distance as Dan Hooker did,” he said. “He’s going to try and wrestle me and push me against the fence. I’m ready, man. So, wherever this fight goes I’m ready, it will be a great fight.”
In the end, Edson Barboza knows this fight is crucial for his career as losing three in a row is not something he wants. He also knows a win here sets him up for a top-level fighter at featherweight which he’s excited about.
“It is very important. I think I won the last fight but the judges gave it to Felder. Right now, this is a new beginning for my career,” Barboza concluded. “I’m still hungry and so excited about this fight and a new beginning for my career. Get ready.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Edson Barboza and Dan Ige on Saturday?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/12/2020.