31-Year-Old UFC Lightweight 19-4-0
October 27, 2017 Edson Barboza News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Barboza (shoulder) will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
Barboza has been recovering from shoulder surgery that he underwent in June, but announced that he will go up against Nurmagomedov for his return to the arena during the New Year's clash in Las Vegas. His last fight came in March when he defeated Beneil Dariush via KO (flying knee) in Brazil, which marked his third straight victory. On the other side, Nurmagomedov recently underwent back surgery this summer, and will be making his first appearance since last November, when he dominated Michael Johnson at UFC 205 in New York City.
Edson Barboza: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza is coming off a highlight reel KO over Beneil Dariush, and currently has his sights set on the top-5 of the UFC's lightweight division. Although he won't fight training partner Eddie Alvarez, Barboza is targeting names such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson (who he already lost to), though he did say he'd be open to a matchup with Kevin Lee if that opportunity presented itself first. Before looking too far ahead, however, Barboza has several months of physical therapy in his future before he'll be able to book a fight. Currently riding a three-fight winning streak, the prospective layoff could negate this momentum when Barboza is ready to re-enter the cage in late-2017.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza was once considered the logical candidate to welcome former WSOF fighter Justin Gaethje to the UFC Octagon, but an injury will halt those plans. Instead, a fight between Gaethje and Michael Johnson is in the works. Barboza, the UFC's No. 5-ranked lightweight, is in consideration for a title shot after racking up three straight wins, but he likely needs another victory over an opponent ranked ahead of him in order to cement that opportunity.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's such an advantage to have the athletic ability to land a knee like that in a fight in which you are far from your best. Junior landed a few decent shots here and there, but he spent he majority of the fight back peddling against the aggressive Dariush. We have seen highlight reel knockouts from Barboza before on multiple occasions, but this one was as impressive as any. In a fight in which he was clearly losing, Junior dug deep to earn the win against a talented opponent. Barboza essentially asked for a title shot in his post-fight interview with FOX Sports' Brian Stann, and while that isn't going to happen, he is going to get another A-plus opponent next time out.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was another thorough dissection from the surging Barboza. No man on the UFC roster throws more effective and devastating leg kicks than the Brazilian. They were on full display once again in this one, as he destroyed Melendez's front leg from the opening bell onward. When Melendez was able to land on the feet, Barboza ate those strikes without issue and continued to move forward. A freak athlete who excels in all areas of MMA, Barboza is a top-five lightweight at this point. Whomever he faces next better come up with a new game plan, because standing in front of him and letting Barboza destroy your front leg isn't working for his opposition.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza is coming of the most impressive performance of his career, a thorough dissection of Anthony Pettis in April. Edson hammered Pettis on the feet, throwing a variety of strikes from all angles that the former UFC Lightweight Champion had no answer for. Barboza has always had that sort of ability, but consistency has been an issue. He has rotated wins and losses in his last five bouts, although the two losses have come against top-notch opponents in Tony Ferguson and Michael Johnson. Melendez generally prefers to fight on the feet, so this is a terrific matchup for the emerging Barboza.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza is coming off the biggest win of his career in April, defeating Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision. His kicking power was his biggest advantage in that fight, and it could likely be that way again on July 23 against Melendez. Melendez hasn't fought since he was suspended in July 2015 for failing a drug test, but he still can't be counted out, as he was a top-5 lightweight before his suspension.
Fantasy AnalysisIt is by far the biggest win of Barboza's career. Knowing that he would be facing an opponent who would be willing to engage him in a striking battle, Edson got off first on virtually every exchange between the two. UFC color man Joe Rogan is known to exaggerate on a daily basis, but he was right on the money when he said that no one in the sport throws a faster kick than Barboza. He turned Pettis' leg an ugly shade of purple and left the former champion hobbling around the octagon. Barboza still may not find himself ranked in the top-five of a ridiculously deep UFC lightweight division even after the win, but this was a fight that he had to have if he hoped to truly consider himself a title contender. It was a brilliant effort.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza is just 3-3 in his last six fights dating back to April 2014, but the three losses have come against Tony Ferguson, Michael Johnson and Cowboy Cerrone. Barboza’s attack is based off throwing a high volume of vicious leg kicks, but he may need to try to change up the game plan against an opponent with the athleticism of Pettis. There is no way that Pettis is going to stand in front of Barboza and make it easy for him. Facing a struggling opponent who is still a huge name amongst casual fans, this is a big opportunity for Barboza to make a name for himself.
Fantasy AnalysisUFC fans are getting what they've been asking for, as this should be a relatively close fight between the former champion and the 30-year-old Barboza. The Brazilian native has 10 career knockouts, but three of his last four fights have gone to a decision. Barboza is just 1-2 in his last three fights, but a convincing victory over Pettis has a chance to propel him into title shot conversations by the end of 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisUnlike the Gabriel Gonzaga v. Konstantin Erokhin fight earlier where both fighters should have be given a loss, it's a shame that both men in this fight couldn't get a win. Barboza did what he does - that being firing lightning quick leg kicks and hammering his opponent on the feet. Even the finish wasn't the result of Barboza doing anything wrong, but Ferguson being just that good. Barboza is earning a well deserved reputation as being one of the most entertaining fighters on the entire UFC roster. Better days are ahead for him.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza (#6) is actually ranked higher than Ferguson (#7) by UFC.com, but Ferguson is on such a role that Barboza will enter this fight as the underdog. It's a new position for Barboza, who has only been the underdog for one of his fights in the last five years. Known for his brutal leg kicks, Barboza would be best served to remain active against Ferguson. He has been known to tail off during the later stages of bouts and it has cost him in the past. Despite being the underdog, Barboza has the skills to pull off the upset.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza most recently had a unanimous decision victory over Felder in July and will be ready for the step up in competition in early December. He has won three of his past four fights coming into the showdown on December 11 in Las Vegas.
Fantasy AnalysisIt would be a definite step up in competition for Barboza, but he appears to be ready for it. A winner in three of his last four contests, Barboza is coming off a hard fought unanimous decision win over Paul Felder in July.
Fantasy AnalysisIn what was strictly stand up battle, Barboza got back to his aggressive ways and it got him back in the win column. He landed a ton of his signature kicks and showed a distinct speed advantage over Felder. Barboza's kicks are amongst the quickest in all of MMA and as long as he stays active, he's one of the better lightweights in the world. Felder definitely had his moments as well, but Barboza deserved the victory.
Fantasy AnalysisBarboza was originally slated to face Myles Jury in this bout, but he had to drop out due to injury. Barboza was uncharacteristically passive in his last fight against Michael Johnson and it cost him a decision loss. He needs to get back to his aggressive style if he wants to have success against Felder. Felder is always moving forward, so it's entirely possible that he will force Barboza to be far more active than he was in the Johnson fight.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight was originally scheduled to be Jury vs. Anthony Pettis, but assuming there are no more injuries, it will be Barboza vs. Felder. Barboza wasn't very aggressive in his last bout against Michael Johnson (unanimous decision loss) and that will have to change if he wants to have success against the always active Felder.
Fantasy AnalysisKnown as a guy who loves to stay active, you don't have to ask Barboza twice to accept a fight. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Michael Johnson back in February in a fight where his output dropped significantly as the fight went on and he was simply outworked. Barboza can't afford to do the same thing if he hopes to be successful against Jury.