Given their respective styles of fighting, its a high possibility that UFC on ESPN 2 headliner between Justin Gaethje between Edson Barboza will not go the distance. Barboza is, nonetheless, preparing for a 25 minute war.
Barboza will meet Gaethje in UFC on ESPN 2 headliner which takes place this Saturday at Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia. The fight was touted as a potential ‘Fight of the year’ candidate right from the time it was announced, and hence Barboza is preparing for all possible outcomes.
“I was very happy because I want the best in the world, and that’s a good feeling for me,” Barboza on Monday told MMA Junkie. “If you see my last couple opponents, I fought against the best guys in the world. I’m one of the best guys in the world. That’s a good feeling. I love my job.”
“It’s a main event. I train for a 25-minute war. That’s what I’m ready for. I train so hard for this fight, and I’m ready for a 25-minute war.”
Both the fighters are known for their amazing knockout capabilities. However, Barboza’s high level Muay Thai skills make him one of the most feared kickers in the game. To top it off, he is the only fighter in the UFC roster to have wins via a head kick, body punch, body kick, leg kicks, and flying knee.
“Definitely (my striking is better),” Barboza said. “I have knockout with a punch, with a body kick, low kick, head kick, spinning back kick, knees – on paper I’m definitely the most dangerous striker in the UFC.”
Prior to his last fight Barboza, for the first time in his career, was on a two fight losing streak. The losses against Khabib and Kevin Lee forced Barboza to switch camps to American Top Team. As of now, the move has been successful as Barboza won his last fight against Dan Hooker at UFC on Fox 31.
“Sometimes it’s a loss, sometimes it’s a win, but my confidence always 100 percent,” Barboza said. “Sometimes I lose, and my next fight I was back 100 percent with my confidence. It doesn’t matter if I win, if I lose – my confidence is always there. For this fight I’m 100 percent confident I’m ready to go. … I know if I go in there, I give my best, I will win this fight. I don’t worry much about this opponent.”
The lightweight division of the UFC is certainly a bit out of order right now. The champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov, is currently serving suspension for his involvement in the post UFC 229 brawl. Dustin Porier will meet Max Holloway for the interim title.
Despite going against a lower ranked contender, Barboza thinks a win will propel him towards the title shot.
“If I win this fight it will put me close to the title shot, very close,” Barboza said. “The division is a little busy right now, but Dustin will fight for the title and win this fight, and hopefully bring this belt for the gym, for the team, for ATT. My next step is to fight with Gaethje. I’ll beat him, and if I win this fight let’s see what happens.”