UFC Milwaukee winner Edson Barboza was not surprised by the toughness of Dan Hooker Saturday. Moving forward, he’s open to another tough fight with Al Iaquinta, though he refrained from directly calling anyone out.
Milwaukee, WI — As the body shots began to pile up, Edson Barboza’s co-main event battle with Dan Hooker at UFC Milwaukee became hard to watch. Most expected a great fight heading into Saturday night. Few expected that Hooker would become New Zealand’s answer to The Korean Zombie, lumbering forward at all times, refusing to go do to increasingly vicious blows to the mid-section.
To the victor go the spoils, of course. Though the bout was snubbed in terms of a bonus.
“I’m very happy, very happy. I worked so hard for this fight. A lot of things happened in my life the last couple months,” Barboza told reporters backstage at the Firserv Forum on Saturday. The lightweight was referring, at least in part, to a move from New Jersey to Florida he recently pulled the trigger on.
“There were no surprises,” Barboza said of the fight, “because like I said, he’s one of the best guys in the world.” Maybe not for Barboza, but most watching were surprised that Hooker refused to go down. The Brazilian wasn’t worried at all when Hooker kept coming forward, either. “No, I’m not worried. Like I said I trained for fifteen minutes of war. If he stayed on the feet, I’d still hurt him for fifteen minutes. Thank God I got him with a good body shot, and he [went] down.”
Hooker was transported to the hospital after the bout, and Barboza didn’t get a chance to speak to his opponent. He wished Hooker a speedy recovery, however. “Hopefully he’ll recover fast, come back. He’s a young guy. This has happened to me a couple of times, this is part of the job. But I pray for him, I hope God bless him and [he] comes back stronger.”
While it was nice to finally fight a striker, Barboza also pointed out that “he tried to take me down! I have twenty fight in the UFC, I think all those guys tried to take me down.” After seeing his performance at UFC on FOX 31 in Milwaukee, however, you can’t blame them.
Barboza didn’t have a name in mind for who comes next. However, someone ahead of him in the rankings is his preference. He’d definitely be open to a bout with main event winner Al Iaquinta. “Great fight. He’s one of the top 10 guys. If the UFC offered to fight him, of course I’d fight. He’s one of the best in the world. If I fight him, it’s going to be a great fight, like always.”
Watch the full UFC Milwaukee post-fight press scrum with Edson Barboza above!