Edson Barboza learned a lot from his only career defeat. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Edson Barboza has learned a great deal about himself as a mixed martial artist since his upset loss to Jamie Varner last year at UFC 146.
The 27 year-old will enter the Octagon today against Danny Castillo at UFC on Fox 9 hoping to further build off the sole defeat on his record and continue his history of brutally finishing fights.
“I learned from the Varner fight that sometimes when you fall you stand up twice as strong,” Barboza told Sherdog.com ahead of his showdown with Castillo in Sacramento, Calif. “I looked back and I saw that my whole training camp was wrong. I changed my training, [set up my camp in] New Jersey, and today I am part of Ricardo Almeida/Valor Martial Arts team. I got two big victories after that [change].”
The two wins represent a small portion of the 11 fights that Barboza has not allowed to reach the judges’ scorecards. While the lightweight said he did not take personal pride from that statistic, it is nevertheless something he credits to his fighting style and training partners, whom he could not praise enough.
“I think it has a lot to do with the work that my team and I have been putting in. [I] always try to learn something new to improve my game. That’s just the way I fight,” said Barboza. “I train with Frankie Edgar, Marlon Moraes, Akira Corassani, Frankie Perez and many other good guys. They are the best team I could ask for. I am very blessed to be part of it.”
The lightweight title picture is currently packed with competitors like Benson Henderson, T.J. Grant, Gilbert Melendez and more at the top of the list. Barboza refused to say where he ranks among others in his weight class, but he will not shy from any confrontation. In particular, he leans towards reigning champion Anthony Pettis for a potential matchup.
“I will fight any one of those names. I think Pettis would be a good one because he likes to fight standing up, and I like to fight on the feet, too. I think that it would be an interesting fight for the MMA fans,” said Barboza. “I will fight anyone in my division. It doesn't matter if the guy is a wrestler, boxer, muay Thai fighter, jiu-jitsu guy, [whomever] it is, I will be there. I just want to build my path to be the champion.”
With 2014 almost upon us, Barboza’s path to the title may come sooner than later, provided he can navigate the stiff test that Castillo will likely present.
“I hope to fight as many times as possible. I love to fight,” said Barboza. “I want to be the champ. I will [give] all my heart to make it happen.”