Edson Barboza doesn’t want a break from the action following his tough loss to Kevin Lee.
Barboza headlined UFC Atlantic City on April 21, looking to rebound from a one-sided defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in December, but was dominated by Lee at the Boardwalk Hall, losing via doctor stoppage in the fifth round.
Barboza expected Lee to go for takedowns and try to replicate everything Nurmagomedov had done in December, but admits he wasn’t able to use his takedown defense and jiu-jitsu off his back in the Octagon.
Coming off two dominating losses in less than four months, Barboza has no plans to slow down.
“My plan is to fight again as soon as possible,” Barboza told MMA Fighting. “I love what I do and I’m still motivated and hungry to keep training and getting better. I want to fight at least two times more this year.”
Asked if he was considering to take some time off after almost eight rounds of punches and elbows to the face in his past two fights, the Brazilian striker recalled some criticism he has dealt with early in his UFC career.
“I got hit a lot in the head (in those fights),” Barboza said. “It’s funny that people say I’m a warrior, that I don’t quit, that I can take a beating, and those are the same people that said I have a glass chin after my loss to (Donald) Cerrone [laughs]. I want to fight as quick as possible. I already trained today and I will come back with everything I have.”
Now ranked at No. 6 in the UFC lightweight ranking, Barboza says he’s still close to the 155-pound championship, and hopes to face someone ranked close to him when he returns.
“I still am one of the best of the division,” Barboza said. “The division is jammed. I honestly don’t think much has changed. I gave a few steps back, away from my title shot, but I’m still close, I’m still at the top.”
“I honestly think I can beat anyone in my division,” he continued. “I’m upset with this loss and every other loss I had because I know I could have defeated then all. What other people think doesn’t matter to me. I know I can beat anyone in this division.”
Barboza, who scored wins over Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez and Beneil Dariush prior to his losing skid, doesn’t have a specific name he would like to face next.
“The ideal scenario is to fight as soon as possible,” Barboza said.