Edson Barboza: I want to give the UFC an opportunity to consider me for a title shotPosted on January 10, 2012, 11:06 AM by Anton Gurevich
This Saturday night, Edson Barboza will head to his native country of Brazil to take on English submission specialist Terry Etim at UFC 142 from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Quickly emerging as one of the Lightweight division's brightest young prospects, Barboza will look to extend his current undefeated streak to 10-0, with hopes of solidifying his place in the UFC's stacked 155-pound title mix.
A product of The Armory Training Center in Florida, Barboza made his professional debut in 2009, reeling off six consecutive victories to capture the Ring of Combat title before signing with the UFC in 2010. Utilizing crippling leg-kicks and precision striking, the Brazilian dispatched of Mike Lullo via TKO in his octagon debut, which he followed up with back-to-back "Fight of the Night" performances against Anthony Njokuani and Ross Pearson to improve his UFC mark to 3-0.
Now just days ahead of what will be his second homecoming in less than six-months, LowKick.com had an opportunity to speak with Barboza about this weekend's match-up. Here's what he had to say about his training at The Armory, his title aspirations, and how his striking stacks up against other UFC Lightweights.
This will be your second consecutive fight in Brazil. Do you feel more confident fighting in front of your home crowd? Do you think it will give you some sort of advantage against Etim?
Well, of course, it's really good to be able to fight in Brazil. It's a wonderful opportunity to be able to see my family, my friends, my fans and feel their energy closer. However, as I always say, when I am inside of the octagon, it's the same everywhere, no matter where you are fighting; it's the same rules, a judge and an opponent.
Can you talk about your training camp and the teammates who helped you prepare for UFC 142?
My training camp is going awesome! I have no words to say about my teammates at the Armory, they are great. I'm training wrestling with great partners at Imperial Athletics, and I've been having great training sessions over there. I'm doing jiu-jitsu with the greatest grapplers in the world, like Pablo Popovitch, Raphael Chaves, Vagner Rocha, Eduardo Guedes and Roberto Cyborg. My coach, Joseph Mullings, takes care of my strength and conditioning training and also my nutrition. He always does a great job. My Muay Thai master, Anderson Franca, came from Brazil to do this camp with me, and he is training me very hard. Thank God, my training camp is great.
You've won two consecutive Fight of the Night bonuses. Do you think that, in combination with Terry Etim’s fighting style, you have a good chance at getting another FOTN bonus at UFC 142?
I don't know man. I always train to do my best inside the octagon. I like to do all that I'm able to do and provide a great show for my fans. I was blessed in my last two fights with the bonuses, but I'm focused on giving my best and doing my own thing in there. The rest, only God knows.
Do you think you have the best striking in the UFC Lightweight division? Do you feel like this is your main strength against Etim?
Man, in this division, it is really difficult to say. There are a lot of great fighters in the UFC lightweight division, but I'm up there. I think I can be one of the best strikers in that division. I have been training Muay Thai since I was eight years old, and I feel more comfortable fighting stand-up. So, of course, this is my main strength.
Terry Etim is well-known for his submission skills. Are you confident in your abilities to stop him on the ground?
As I said, I train jiu-jitsu and wrestling with great partners and coaches. But, I'm focused on my own game and what I want to do.
Do you think that a victory over Terry Etim would place you in the mix for a title shot?
I hope so. But, first of all, I'm focused on my next fight now. I want to do my job, put on great fights and give the UFC the opportunity to consider me, one day, for a title fight. But, I know it is step by step. I'm a professional, I want to keep fighting and I want to be fighting against the best fighters in the world.
As a fighter, what are your goals for 2012?
I want to continue to grow my game. All aspects of it: Stand-up, ground, my transitions - all of it. I also want to fight as much as I can, and I want to fight against the best fighters.
Your prediction for the fight with Terry Etim, KO / Submission / Decision?
It will be a great fight.
On behalf of myself and the staff at LowKick.com, I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me, it's been a pleasure. Is there anything that you would like to add or any sponsors that you would like to mention?
Yes, I would like to thank Muscle Pharm, SafeAuto Insurance, Jaco, Bodybuilding.com, and Rednose.
Fans can follow Edson Barboza on Twitter @EdsonBarbozaJr and "Like" his Official Facebook Page.