Edson Barboza: If I Get A Rematch With ‘Cowboy,’ The Result Will Be Completely Different

Powerful No. 9-ranked UFC lightweight Edson Barboza got back in the win column with a highly impressive first round stoppage of veteran Evan Dunham in the co-main event of last Wednesday night’s (July 16, 2014) UFC Fight Night 45 from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

He’s now won four out of his past five bouts, but that one loss, a UFC on FOX 11 submission at the hands of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, still resonates deeply in his mind.

It was a fight that the highly talented “Junior” was winning on all accounts, peppering Cerrone with some hard, accurate shots before apparently getting cocky.

Barboza got dropped by a jab and finished by a choke, and all the sudden, shades of his UFC 146 loss to Jamie Varner were evoked. Still, Barboza told MMA Fighting that his loss to Cerrone was more of a mistake than anything “Cowboy” did:

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“It happens. I made a mistake. We’re fighting at the highest level. He had one chance and ended the fight. I know I would end the fight if I also had one opportunity. I was doing great, landed some good kicks and punches, but he caught me.”

Not surprisingly, the lightning fast slugger believes that a rematch would turn out differently. With Cerrone’s original UFC 178 opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov off the card with a knee injury, “Junior” would love to get another crack at “Cowboy”:

“I can easily fight anyone (at the top 10). I want a well-ranked opponent, and I will be ready. If I do my game, I can beat anyone. I want to test myself against anyone ahead of me in the rankings, especially Cerrone.

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If they give me another fight with him, the result will be completely different. He was scheduled to fight the Russian, but the fight is off. Who knows, maybe the UFC will give me another opportunity to fight him. I’m sure it would be a great fight.”

With both combatants well known as two of the most exciting fighters in the sport today, there’s not much doubt that a rematch with Cerrone would be a great a fight. However, “Cowboy” put a stamp on Barboza and is most likely due for an elite match-up against someone in the Top 5.

The only thing that may save Barboza’s chances is the fact that most top contenders are currently booked. That could all change if No. 3-ranked Josh Thomson gets by No. 13 Bobby Green at this weekend’s (July 26, 2014) UFC on FOX 12 event from San Jose, but it would still be an extremely quick turnaround for “Punk.”

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Green could also be an outside opponent for Cerrone, as could Abel Trujillo or Ross Pearson depending on the outcome of their UFC Fight Night 47 bout in August. But if those fighters are going to be considered, then the No. 9-ranked Barboza might be a better option.

Cerrone doesn’t care who he fights; he just wants to fight and make money. Does “Junior” already deserve a chance to prove his loss was a fluke?

Photo: Bill Streicher for USA TODAY Sports