Even after being in the UFC for 11 years, muay thai specialist Edson Barboza is happy to see that he is still a draw. Just one day away from his third headliner spot in the promotion, the Brazilian is thrilled to take on fellow striking specialist Giga Chikadze in the main bout of the evening at UFC Vegas 35.
In an interview with Combate, Edson pointed how the pairing between himself and Chikadze has everything to be a classic. After taking both Kevin Lee and Justin Gaethje in previous main events that did not go his way, Barboza hopes to put on yet another show for the fans. while expecting a different result this time around.
“On paper, that’s the kind of fight I would like to watch. I’m sure it’s going to be a war. He’s an excellent striker. He has proven that. I’ve been proving for almost 11 years that I’m one of the best. It’s always special to be the headliner. Almost everyone is there to see the main event. It makes me really happy because the years go by and I’m still good entertainment. I’m always putting on a show for the people watching.”
Currently the number 9 featherweight in the UFC rankings, Edson has agreed to take a few steps back in order to face rising contender Chikadze, who sits at the 13th spot at the moment. Although Barboza would like to face a higher-ranked opponent, the exciting pairing and the main event spot are more than enough to make the Brazilian motivated for the fight.
“Sure. I expected someone who was ahead of me, but this is the kind of fight that really motivates me. I know it’s going to be a great fight. I know people want this fight. It’s a main event, so that’s another thing that motivates me to take this fight. I was really happy about this opportunity.”
On a two-fight winning streak at the moment, Barboza (22-9) has defeated Shane Burgos and Makwan Amirkhani in his previous bouts. Before that, the Brazilian dropped a split decision in his featherweight debut, when he took on Dan Ige in May 2020.
Now, Barboza is expected to face Chikadze at the UFC Vegas 35 main event, on August 28. The card is scheduled take place at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas, Nevada.