Get ready for war.
Ahead of Edson Barboza’s headlining tilt against former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje at UFC on ESPN 2, the Brazilian told Michael Fiedel of The Body Lock MMA that he’s preparing for an all-out slugfest.
“Like I said, it’s going to be a big war,” Barboza said in a recent interview. I’m training for a big war. Of course, he’s [Poirier] helped, ‘he’s good at this, he’s not good at this.’ For sure, he’s helped me for this next fight.”
Barboza made his Octagon debut over eight years ago at UFC 123, but the MMA veteran has never fought for the title. The No. 6-ranked lightweight contender believes that a win over Gaethje at UFC on ESPN 2, and then possibly another win after that, will catapult him into title contention.
“Yeah, for sure. If I win a couple of fights, definitely I’ll be close for the title shot. I’m number six in the world right now and I’ll be close.”
Now training at American Top Team’s Coconut Creek facility in Florida, Barboza is sparring alongside Dustin Poirier, who knocked out ‘The Highlight’ in a Fight of the Night classic at UFC on FOX 29.
Asked whether he would consider fighting Poirier for the title, should ‘The Diamond’ beat Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov in back-to-back title fights, Barboza issued the following response:
“I don’t think about that right now,” he said. “He’s helped me a lot for this fight. He’s such a nice guy, I have a lot of respect for him and I don’t think about that. I really hope he beats Holloway, gets the belt and I just focus on my next fight. If it maybe happens in the future, let’s think about it then.”
UFC on ESPN 2: Barboza vs. Gaethje takes place this coming Saturday, March 30th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.