UFC on ESPN 8: Edson Barboza Hoping to Fast-Track Title Shot, Starting with Ige

Edson Barboza had no issues making the cut to 145lbs at the UFC on ESPN 8 weigh-in Friday morning. And that’s no surprise. Speaking to reporters at the event’s virtual media day earlier in the week, Barboza (20-8) — with over 20 fights inside the octagon at lightweight — downplayed the late career drop in divisions.

“I do the same thing I do when I make 155, but I start ten pounds lighter. The same feeling, just a couple more hours,” he said.

Later, he’d suggest that taking weight off wasn’t the issue. “My real fight is to keep my weight high,” he revealed. “I’m a healthy guy, man. Never did diet my life, because I ate clean my whole life. You guys never see me out of shape. Never in my whole life, because I was a professional. I do everything right all the time. It’s so easy for me to drop to 145 because like I said, I do everything right.”

Turns out, his prediction was correct. Barboza was among the first fighters to hit the scales Friday. Saturday night inside an empty Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, he’ll face Dan Ige. It’s a name the Brazilian was happy to draw for his first trip to 145lbs.

“I’m so happy, the UFC always gives me some big challenge. The UFC gave me the chance to fight against the best guys in the world,” Barboza said. “Dan is top 15. You’re talking about the top 15 in the world. He’s one of the best.”

What excites Edson Barboza is where a win over Hawaii’s Ige would leave him. This will be Barboza’s 23rd fight in the UFC, and experience talks. “If I beat him, I deserve the top five,” he stated. “I have three more fights on my contract. I hope the UFC, after this one if I win, they give me top five, [then] they give me a chance for the title shot.”