Edson Barboza breaks down UFC main event with Giga Chikadze
Edson Barboza is “very happy” to have another UFC card title and possibly a step closer to a feather-light championship shot with a £ 145 Giga Chikadze win at UFC Vegas 35 this Saturday.
Barboza has looked fantastic at featherweight (currently number 9 on the MMA fighting world rankings) and has dominated Shane Burgos and Makwan Amirkhani since his controversial split-decision loss to Dan Ige on his debut. Barboza hopes it will turn into a five-round war with Chikadze (# 12), who ended up with a devastating 63-second knockout in the UFC. of veteran Cub Swanson 6-0.
“He’s an excellent striker,” Barboza said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Let’s see how good he is in the stroke area. These are the types of opponents I like to fight, guys who really want to come and try to catch me [laughs]. I have no doubt that he is moving forward, he will expose himself a lot and that will give me a lot of opportunities. It’s going to be a good fight, brother. I am sure we will collapse. ”
Barboza has faced a long list of dangerous strikers for more than a decade as a UFC fighter, but he hopes that “Ninja” Chikadze, a protégé of Rafael Cordeiro of Kings MMA, will decide to take on him.
“It’s funny that all of the strikers I’ve fought within the UFC tried to beat me,” said Barboza. “But it’s an MMA fight, right, brother? I know I need to be prepared in all areas because it’s an MMA fight, but I hope it comes to fight. ”
The American top team product was called Max Holloway, Calvin Kattar, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sun Jung and Yair Rodriguez after their knockout over Burgos in May, but he was paired with Chikadze instead.
“We always want to play someone in front of us,” said Barboza. “But I definitely love this fight because of its fighting style and the fact that the UFC gave me a place in the main event. That makes all the difference. Winning this fight will definitely take me further and bring me closer to my goal of becoming a featherweight champion. I’m very excited and I know it’s going to be a great fight. ”
Barboza has already topped the UFC charts, lagging behind Kevin Lee and Justin Gaethje in their light days. The Main Event is more than just an extra 10 minutes of action, however.
“It’s definitely different from a three-round fight or a preliminary fight,” said Barboza. “It’s different, but mostly the psychological part. I learned from these two main events that it was more about my head. That’s no excuse, but I think I’m mentally stronger now, better prepared for five laps. ”
“The training is different because you have to fight for 10 minutes,” he continued. “You see, most people are tired of doing three rounds, do you imagine doing two more? The training is very tough and this is where the mental part comes in. It’s easier than I imagined now. ”
Barboza usually faces four rounds at a time when booked for 15-minute bouts in the UFC, and he credits his mental coach Lincoln Nunes for the performance he played against Amirkhani and Burgos.
“It’s funny because when we fight for five rounds we think it’s just one extra round, you can easily do five rounds,” Barboza said of his training sessions. “But when you’re booked into a five-round fight and you finish four rounds in the gym, you go like ‘shit man, there’s one left. [Laughs] Then the mental part comes into play. The body is ready for 10 rounds, easy, but the mind has to come together. ”
Nobody has beaten Chikadze in the UFC so far, with the former GLORY star winning four decisions and scoring two knockouts at the Octagon.
With this in mind, Barboza predicts a great night for the top American team at UFC APEX.
“He’s a striker too and we know the fight can end any minute,” said Barboza. “I’m ready to fight for 25 minutes, man. 25 minutes of war and spanking, but this fight will be over soon if you give me a chance [to earn myself a shot at him. Qualification] “.