Edson Barboza didn’t feel like a man on a three-fight losing streak heading into his matchup with Makwan Amirkhani at UFC Fight Night 179.
However, that’s exactly what the Brazilian’s record showed following a skid that included back-to-back split-decision defeats at the hands of Paul Felder and Dan Ige. So one can’t blame Barboza if he felt a sense of relief after a unanimous decision victory in Saturday’s co-main event at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
“I feel like I take a couple hundred thousand pounds off my shoulder,” Barboza said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It’s hard. I thought I win my last two fights against Paul and Ige. Thank God I’m back to get my ‘W,’ and I’m very, very happy.”
Barboza was explosive and efficient against Amirkhani, flooring his opponent twice in the second stanza in a convincing performance. Making the performance more impressive was the fact that Barboza had to make some adjustments when Amirkhani replaced originally scheduled foe Sodiq Yusuff a few weeks before the fight.
“It’s a lot to adjust because I worked the whole camp to fight a guy who is an orthodox striker, he’s a southpaw wrestler,” Barboza said. “I had two weeks to adjust, but between the rounds, every minute I would try to figure out where I would put my foot, stay in, work my right hand straight, and I did well, I’m very happy.”
On the heels of his first victory since December 2018, Barboza would like to keep the positive momentum going.
“Please, UFC, give me a fight soon as possible,” Barboza said. “I really love my job. I hope UFC give me chance to fight as soon as possible. I need just a couple of days to enjoy my family and my kids, my wife. Thank God no injuries. I was 100 percent healthy, and I want to get back in the gym and train harder and fight as soon as possible.”
The American Top Team representative can already envision himself taking on some of the best talent featherweight has to offer. It’s something he’s already done during a lengthy stint at lightweight that saw him square off against the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and Beneil Dariush, to name a few.
“If you see everyone in the top six, top seven, it’s great fighters,” Barboza said of the featherweight division. “Imagine me against Calvin Kattar, me against [Max] Holloway, me against Yair [Rodriguez], it’s going to be a great fight. All those guys in top six, top seven, it’s going to be a great fight.”