Exclusive | Billy Quarantillo says April showdown with Edson Barboza ‘feels like a long time coming’

Billy Quarantillo

Billy Quarantillo is ready to step up against one of the most feared strikers in the UFC, Edson Barboza.

The featherweight standouts will do battle on April 15 when the promotion returns to Kansas City for UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen. Barboza will enter the bout looking to avoid a third-straight loss after suffering defeats at the hands of Giga Chikadze and Bryce Mitchell. For Billy Quarantillo, the New York native plans to make it two in a row after delivering a second-round knockout against Alex Hernandez in December. Ahead of his clash with the Brazilian fan-favorite, Billy Quarantillo spoke with Alex Lerman in a LowKick MMA exclusive to discuss his mindset going into the highly anticipated bout.

There was a time when a young Billy Quarantillo, who was still navigating the world of combat sports, legitimately feared the idea of stepping into the cage with a fighter like Edson Barboza. More than a decade later, Billy Q has built up his confidence through hard work in the gym and perseverance inside the Octagon making it the perfect time to test himself against an icon of the sport like Edson Barboza.

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“It feels like it’s a long time coming. It’s one of the fights that… You know, I remember him knocking out Terry Etim back in like 2012 and I wasn’t even a pro fighter yet and I remember watching that fight back then and being like, ‘Man, you’re gonna have to fight guys like this later on. You better be ready for that.’ And at the time thinking, ‘Oh my god, I do not want to fight this guy Edson Barboza.’ That was the mentality. I didn’t even want to fight a guy like Terry Etim at the time because he was a good striker.

“But as the years go on. As my confidence grew and getting better every day in the gym, learning from my mistakes, learning from winning and losing, and the trials and tribulations of being a professional now for 10 years, now’s the right time where I think I could fight anyone in the world and still have a lot of confidence and not have that nervous energy like, ‘Oh my god, this is Clay Guida or this is Edson Barboza or so-and-so. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I think this is perfect timing.”

Billy Quarantillo Believes He Has Multiple Paths to Victory Against Edson Barboza

Without divulging too much information, Billy Quarantillo shared his strategy going into their Fight Night showdown.

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“He’s obviously a really good striker. I think a lot of people underestimate my striking. I’ve been striking for 13-plus years with boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing. Learning different stuff. Adding a lot of new tools. There’s a lot of tools that I’ve never used in fights before that I’ve been doing for years and of course my grappling, my wrestling. I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I believe he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu as well. I think everyone in Brazil is a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I’m not too sure, but there’s a lot of different ways I can win.

“Just my game plan that I’m going in there with, my coaching, my coaching staff, and myself we got together and kind of talked about it. We broke down some of his fights. And obviously, there’s a lot of film on him, but I think the last few fights have really given a blueprint on what you need to do to beat him. Of course, the losses that he’s taken have been against really good guys so I need to execute at a super high level and I can’t make any big mistakes.”

With Edson Barboza currently occupying the No. 14 spot on the UFC featherweight rankings, a win for Billy Quarantillo will likely push him into the division’s top 15, setting him up for a significant step up in competition going forward.

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