With Conor McGregor’s timetable for an MMA return unknown, Edson Barboza wants a rematch against Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC lightweight title.
Edson Barboza has won three in a row since his late-2015 loss to Tony Ferguson, and now he wants a rematch — for the interim UFC lightweight title.
Interim titles have been all the talk at 155 pounds since champion Conor McGregor announced he would be sidelined for an extended period of time after his UFC 205 title win over Eddie Alvarez because his wife was expecting a baby. And now “The Notorious” could be out longer than expected, as he’s in talks to face top boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Ferguson was scheduled to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in March for the interim championship, but Nurmagomedov was forced out of the bout just days before the event due to weight-cutting complications. And now with the undefeated Russian out until the fall because of Ramadan, Barboza has a chance to leapfrog him and attempt to avenge his second-round submission loss to “El Cucuy.”
“I really hope the UFC gives me a chance to fight with Tony Ferguson, because he said he wants to fight, and I want to fight, too,” Barboza told MMAjunkie Radio (transcription via MMAjunkie.com). “I hope the UFC gives me this chance.
“So many guys talk about this fight. It’s a rematch for me. I think this fight makes sense for us. It makes sense for me; it makes sense for him. I know he said he doesn’t want to wait, and I’m here. I’m ready. You guys remember the last fight I had with him. It was a really good fight, one of the best of the year. Imagine, guys, five rounds, me and him, with a full camp.”
Though Barboza came up short in the first outing, he put up a good fight, earning both lightweights an extra bonus check for “Fight of the Night” honors. And he stepped up for an injured Nurmagomedov, taking the fight on short notice. With a full training camp, Barboza expects the fight will go quite differently.
“My last fight against him, I had a four-week camp. I got the fight on short notice,” he said. “Imagine, guys, five rounds. That’s going to be a good fight — maybe one of the best fights of the year.”
Though McGregor sits atop the 155-pound division officially, the Brazilian said the winner of the Ferguson rematch, should it happen, would be considered the real champion.
“I think McGregor is not the real champ,” Barboza said. “He has the belt, but I have almost 20 fights in this division. Ferguson has more than 10 fights in this division. Khabib (Nurmagomedov) has almost 10 fights in this division. And I think the next champ is going to be the fight for the interim belt.”
According to Barboza, his time-frame for a return lines up perfectly with Ferguson’s.
“He said he’s ready for July,” Barboza said. “That’s going to be perfect for me. I’m ready for July, too. Why not?”