Needless to say, Edson Barboza’s last couple of fights have not gone his way. The Brazilian veteran, longtime lightweight and current 145lb’er has had his struggles with the judges. Including, most blatantly, in his last fight — a split decision loss to Dan Ige.
Judging in MMA being what it is, you’re pretty much playing the lottery when you leave it to the judges. Barboza gambled and lost against Ige, in what was Edson’s featherweight debut. Plenty of onlookers scored it for Barboza, however, including Dana White.
For Barboza, while he’s at peace with the loss now, he’s also keenly aware that judges have essentially cost him his last two fights.
“Right now I’m fine with that, it’s over. But it’s happened twice to me. My last two fights, everybody said I won the fight,” Barboza told Cageside Press during this week’s UFC Fight Island 5 media day. “I really believe I won my last two fights, against Paul [Felder] and Dan [Ige]. Close to the fights, it was a little bit sad, because I worked so hard, and I think I did everything right, but the judges gave it to my opponents.”
“But right now it’s over. I’m focused on the next one,” added Barboza, who faces Makwan Amirkhani this Saturday.
Still, judging changes remain something Barboza would be open to. There have been all sorts of proposals over the years, from using ex-MMA athletes and coaches as judges, to bringing in more than three judges.
“I think judges for MMA need to know about MMA,” opined Barboza. “Especially, most commissions are boxing commissions. Guys don’t understand that much MMA. I really believe if you put somebody from MMA, it would be much better.”
In the meantime, it’s on to Amirkhani, a short-notice replacement stepping in for Sodiq Yusuff. The change of opponents, in this case, is rather drastic. “I was supposed to fight a guy who’s an orthodox striker, and now he’s a southpaw, and grappler,” noted Barboza. “But the most important thing is I’m ready. I trained so hard for this fight. I gave my best every single day in the gym, I’m more motivated than ever. I’m ready. I really don’t worry about who’s in front of me.”
One factor that shouldn’t pose any issues to the fight is weight. After making weight successfully against Ige last time out, Barboza has no concern about hitting 145lbs again.
“It’s a little bit easier right now, because I know I can do it,” said Barboza. “The last fight I was a little bit scared, because I didn’t know how my body was going to respond to cutting to 145. Right now, I know I can do this. I’m a little bit lighter right now. Everything’s gone smooth the whole camp, I definitely don’t worry about the weight right now.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 5 virtual press scrum with Edson Barboza above. The event airs live this Saturday, October 10 on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).